Paint and floors! (mud room progress)

Monday, December 30, 2013 0 comments

Well when I said I wanted to get my hands dirty again I meant it. I worked my TAIL off on the mud room yesterday! Seven hours straight – it feels like I’ve barely made a dent and like it looks like a whole new room all at once.

My hand is now a claw from gripping the paint brush so long, but there’s progress!

After I installed the new door trim my next step was to figure out what color to go with on the beadboard in the room. I shared the options I was looking into on Facebook:

peacock blue colors

I was deciding between a navy blue tone and a more peacock blue color and went with the latter – I’m a little obsessed with that color. I used it as an accent in the powder room, in the basement bathroom and I’ve used it in the living room too. LOVE.

Thing is – painting beadboard is a major pain in the tuckus. Seriously up there with the most tedious jobs ever. I start by using a roller over the whole thing, not worrying about getting into the grooves. Then I take a thick, angled brush and fill in the “beads”:

painting beadboardI use lots of paint, don’t be afraid to lather it on there. You have to go over it a few times to smooth it all out and get any excess paint out. THIS is why I feel like my hand is permanently in the claw shape. ;)

This time, for what I think may be the first time, I painted my trim before I installed it. What WHUT? Yep. I ALWAYS install first, then paint, and I ALWAYS complain about painting after the fact. I still don’t know if I’m sold on the painting before thing. It did make it a little easier – I didn’t have to worry about taping anything off.

But I still had to fill nail holes and touch up paint that I usually don’t have to worry about. Since I used such a deep color, I knew filling the holes would leave a white spot I’d have to paint over a couple times, so I mixed up a bit of my putty with some paint:

filling holes

That way it matched the wall color better. Even after it dried it was still a little lighter:

filling holes

I wiped it with a wet rag and then just touched up those small areas. So, the jury’s still out on the paint or install first, at least for me. I think it may be a bit easier to paint first though. Maybe.

So the blue color is called Reflecting Pool by Ralph Lauren. I’ve had an old paint deck for years from when they sold it at Home Depot (I would get it mixed in Behr paint). This time I took it to Sherwin Williams and got it color matched. I do love it but it’s more color than I’m used to, that’s for sure! When I’m in the room it feels deep and pretty. When I’m in another room and walk into the mud room it feels BRIGHT. :) But Lordy…I’m not painting it again for awhile so I’ll get used to it:blue beadboard

I did something a little different this time – usually the white is on the beadboard and the color is on the walls. I wanted to flip it around this time and I really like it! Now I’m not sure the door will stay that color though. It’s always trial and error for me – I just have to figure it out along the way.

It takes me eons to put a room together but that’s because I have to think through every bit of it: IMG_7789

I’ve had half of the walls covered with the beadboard for years, but never finished it up because I was too lazy to move the washer and dryer back in the day:

black and yellow laundry room

Next up I need to continue that around to the rest of the room that will be the built in bench and storage:

laundry turned mud room laundry turned mud room

Those holes are where we had the dryer vent and heavy duty outlet – still don’t think I’ll even cover those with drywall since I’ll be covering it all with beadboard.

Oh I almost forgot about my FAVORITE part! The new floors!! Our flooring guy put them in for a great price again, $300 for labor. Now that I’ve watched him do it a few times I feel like I may be able to do this myself. But they make it seem so easy – they move super fast and just two of them had the floor laid in a couple hours:

jacobean stain hardwoods

I still need to add some trim over by the utility doors – I was more concerned with how they met at the transition piece to the rest of the house than over there. We went with the Jacobean stain and a satin poly like we have on the rest of the main level. After living with hardwoods for a couple years now I would use them in just about any space – even one that gets wet shoes. They’ve held up incredibly well! Any time we’ve ever had water stand on them at all they may cup up a bit but then once they dry out they’re flat again.

You may remember I installed the peel and stick vinyl tiles in here years ago – and they held up OK. Not great, but OK. The “grout” area between the tiles easily discolored, which I didn’t like. And I don’t feel like they’d be great for an area that gets moisture – the water would easily get between them. But the tiles themselves looked pretty darn good, even after years of use. I just didn’t care for the way the the grout areas looked after all this time.

If you had told me a few years ago we’d put hardwoods in both a bathroom and the mud room I would have laughed – but I’m a convert. :)

Next up – finish up the rest of the beadboard (I was waiting to decide on the bench configuration), then figure out the trim that will go around the top of the beadboard: painted beadboard with colorOh and paint the door trim. :) Yay.

THEN I can start the bench! I’m so excited about that! 

I can’t wait to make more progress in this room – and to create more storage! I’m stoked.

I’m just glad the bright yellow and black is gone:

yellow-black-mudroomIt served us well but I’m ready for I’m ready for a change!

NOW I’m off to clean my entire house. When we’re all here 24/7 it’s so hard to keep up with it!! I want to start the new year with a clean slate! I’ll be back a couple more times this week, talk with ya later. ;)

It was a good one

Friday, December 27, 2013 0 comments

Hey. Remember me? My name is Sarah and I write a blog. You may have heard of it.

I didn’t mean to take so much time away but it was nice! I am now ITCHING to get going on something other than holiday decor, let me tell you. I have a list a mile long (I’ll share soon) that I want to tackle. I’m ready to get my hands dirty again (with something other than Christmas glitter)!

I’m also excited about organizing again. Since I purged most of the house earlier this year I feel more in control of our STUFF than I ever have. Now I just want to keep it going in 2014 by making the most of each space.

But today I’m looking back at 2013 at my biggest projects, according to your responses. I have to start with one I’m most proud of -- mostly because I love it, but also because I’m so dang happy to have it DONE:

wood planked walls

The downstairs powder room was a work in progress for about three years. Or more. I lost track a couple years back. I’m SO happy with it now, it was truly worth the wait.

I’m slowly but surely (I’m the tortoise of DIY if you couldn't tell) working on redoing our master bedroom. I sold our old bed and so far haven’t even come close to using the money I made from that to redo the space. There were a few popular posts from that room this year, including the new DIY king-sized headboard for less than $100:

diy headboard

And then the 80’s nightstand redo that didn’t cost me anything:

painting over cherry woodAnd finally those brass thrift store lamps that were made over into glossy navy blue goodness:

spray painting lamps

I have big plans for this room coming soon – I still haven’t even finished painting it yet. :)

After a lot of trial and error over the past (nearly) ten years in this house, I’ve finally figured out what works in our yard. In other words – I’ve stopped killing things. Our backyard is coming together as a beautiful oasis for us, and I gave you a tour here:

backyard oasis

I was busy in the kitchen this year – some of it I splurged on, like our new sofa table:

long sofa table

And some I did myself, like this IKEA table turned farmhouse table:

DIY farmhouse table

The whole nook got a new look with the table and the new light:

bay window kitchen

It works SO much better in this space compared to our old round table and we can easily fit six around it to eat (even without pulling it out).

I was craving color earlier this year and tried out one of my very favorite chalk paint colors in our foyer:

aubusson blue

I painted one of my favorite Craigslist dressers with it and it’s such a deep, gorgeous color. LOVE it!

Speaking of that beautiful blue -- another bathroom in our house that sat undone forever was completed this year too. I showed you how I installed the floating wood shelves in our basement bathroom:

DIY wood floating shelves

And then later on in my no-spend August I finished up the room and used that chalk paint color again. You can see the finished space here:

basement bathroom

I made a few simple changes in the family room this year that made a BIG difference. The first was to change out the old dark mirror that was over the fireplace:

To this lighter, brighter one:

decorating a mantel

This mirror is one of the top five things I get asked about – I got it at HomeGoods and still haven’t seen another one like it since! It made a HUGE difference in there. Seriously…big. (You can see more about the fall mantel here.)

I saved up and finally found a rug I loved for this space too. It truly transformed the room:

light family room And finally – if you’re like me the last thing you want to see right now is more Christmas stuff, but my holiday home tour was a big one and I appreciated all your sweet comments there so much:   thrifty decor chick christmas

As always, the posts that got the most feedback were those that just talk about life, and usually those are my favorites. :) You can read more about our mouse problem and how I dealt with that here (I wish I had read something like this before we had the problem), my new favorite place to visit here, a BIG change in our lives (and the love of my life) here, giving up my soda addiction here and a rousing discussion on the prices at Goodwill here.

It was a very good year. Probably one of the best. I am so, SO grateful to do what I do. I have you to thank for that. Thank you for coming back to see what I’m up to, I truly appreciate you and I value the connections I have with so many of you. I’ll be back next week with some DIY and my plans for the new year! Have a great weekend!

Metal sheeting candleholders

Friday, December 20, 2013 0 comments

Say that title three times fast.

Did you just say it? Me too.

Oh yeah, it’s about that time! The kiddo will be out of school in a few short hours and after that it’s staying up late, sleeping in, eating cookies, watching movies and all kinds of general holiday debauchery. Cannot WAIT!

This is my last project working with True Value this year and it’s one I’ve been wanting to try for eons. Seriously, I’ve walked by these metal radiator grates for years and years and always wanted to do something with them. They’re just so pretty! There are so many designs to pick from too.

I picked up the cloverleaf design at my True Value for this project:

radiator grate candles

(For you locals I go to the Pendleton, IN location.)

I had two projects in mind and started with the easiest one. The other one will have to wait but I think it’s going to be awesome. :) This time I made some pretty candleholders with it and I think they turned out pretty cool!

You can see the design on the metal sheet better here:

radiator grate candles

This one is a pretty brass/gold color but there are other finishes available as well. Isn’t that cool?

I used tin snips to cut through it but scissors work too (it’s very thin):

radiator grate candles

It’s a good idea to wear some hand protection (even SpongeBob gloves would work) while cutting – the edges aren’t crazy sharp but you need to be careful with it.

By the way, I held my glass holders up to it to see what size to cut it first. Don’t forget that part. :) I used some extra Goodwill cylinders (just like I used for the Christmas mantel) – I told you I had a ton of these! They are ALWAYS at my local GW.

When it was cut out I rolled it up a bit so it would start taking the cylinder shape – you need to kind of help it along:

radiator metal candles

Then I wrapped it around the glass to see where the back met up. I took it off and then used a simple line of wire to secure the two together:

radiator metal candles I wrapped the wire at the bottom and the top of the metal to make sure it was going to stay put, and then just slid the metal “wrap” over the glass. That’s it!

I placed some simple votive holders with candles inside:

Radiator sheet candleholders

So pretty eh? I kept walking by them after I was done and oohing and ahhing to myself. They really are striking! I’m nuts over that metal design and the color. Of course you could spray paint the metal sheet any color you wanted too.

I think these look pretty for Christmas but they would work any time of year really:

Radiator grate candleholders

Couple of things – if you have little hands around you may want to add some ribbon around the top or bottom if you think kids will try to handle them. Like I said, the edges can be a bit sharp (it really depends on where you cut them).

Also, you really don’t need to have the glass candleholders! You could just as easily just roll them up, secure the back together and then place a votive holder inside – you can’t really tell there’s glass there when all is said and done.

And finally, this metal sheeting isn’t cheap – I think $20-something each? I’m not sure. But I got three good sized holders out of it and had plenty left over to make another, so it goes further than you think it will.

Have you tried any projects with this metal? I’m planning my next one already…I’ll let you know if it works out!

I’ll be taking most of the next week away to be with family – I’m sure I’ll be back before the holiday, but just in case I don’t “talk” to you before then – I hope you have a WONDERFUL holiday season. Stay safe and enjoy your family and friends!


I was one of the bloggers selected by True Value to work on the DIY Squad. I have been compensated for my time commitment to the program as well as writing about my experience. I have also been compensated for the materials needed for my DIY project. However, my opinions are entirely my own I would have done this project anyway and I have not been paid to publish positive comments.

Christmas Party, 2013!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013 0 comments

Well it’s a week away! And I’ve finally started my shopping. My wallet is begging me to stop already. ;)

As I mentioned yesterday, this is the sixth year I’ve hosted this holiday linky party – I’ve done it since the first Christmas I was blogging. Awww. Pretty cool, I must say.


We have a total of four trees in the house – technically. The fourth is a small one I put in our bedroom, with intentions of decorating with DIY ornaments every year. I always run out of time. So we just use it as a pretty nightlight. :)

The other three are decorated though. The biggie is the 12 footer in our living room. But first things first -- I’ve had quite a few of you ask how week keep our cats out of the trees. Well…


We don’t. :) It’s something I’ve long since given up on. They don’t chew on anything, they just like being in there and playing with the ornaments. You may notice that the bottom of each of our trees is sparsely decorated and that’s not because I have a toddler who takes them off, but three cats instead. I gave up on trying to put them all back on about 25 ornaments ago. I’ll be finding them till next summer.

When I took those pics of our kitten in the tree I scooted him out and started taking pictures again…only to see the tree still moving. I then found another cat SLEEPING in the bows of the tree. Seriously. Sleeping.

Anyway, no good advice here. :) (Although a reader mentioned a thing you can get at the pet store that shoots a puff of air out and deters them from going under the tree – may have to try that.)

Let’s talk about the pretty stuff now!

I’ve always used gold and red on this tree but wanted to try something a little different this year. I’ve been thinking of trying a more “natural” look – but with a 12 foot tree there’s no way I’ll be able change it all out all in one year. So I started by adding a new color this year to see if I liked it – brown:

My sis was all, “Ewww. Brown??” And I was all, “Trust.”

Honestly I wasn’t sure how it would look either. I got a container of brown bulbs at Hobby Lobby for 40 percent off and then used a few larger sparkly ones I’ve had for years.

I stood back after we added some and actually quite loved it. It adds a kind of deepness to the tree – it’s hard to explain. It’s actually really pretty:

While at Hob Lob I also picked up a few packages of that tulle stuff – it’s sparkly and it comes in really wide nine foot sections. But I’ve always cut them up so they go further:  IMG_7419

That way I get three nine foot sections out of each one instead of one. They are still really full and fluffy.

OK, funny story about this monster tree. We got it a few years ago at Lowe’s – they still have it, it’s just more expensive now. I really do love the tree, it’s great quality and easy to assemble.

Soooo, we got a 12-footer because my husband wanted to. The man could care less about everything else I do in this house, but he wanted a huge tree. HE LOVES IT. I love it too but I feel like I’m risking my life to decorate the top. So a couple years ago we’re putting it together and accidentally put the second from the bottom section of the tree on the stand first, and it still looked great. It just wasn’t quite as tall and full at the bottom.

And when I say not as tall, I’m talking a foot shorter. But he really wanted the whole thing up so we fixed it, even though you seriously couldn’t even even tell! Fast forward to this year – my sister is helping me put the tree up since he was out of town and we did the same thing again – using the wrong bottom piece (I need to label these things) and I was kind of over it so I said let’s leave it. It’s still beautiful and tall and he won’t even notice.

Husband gets home a couple days later, looks at the tree, goes on with his business, then later we’re heading to dinner and out of nowhere he says, “Why is the tree smaller this year?” HOW? Then my stepdaughter came over a few days later, looks at the tree and asks, “Why does the tree look smaller this year?”

People. It’s still almost 12 feet tall. They both noticed. I just couldn’t believe they both noticed. I can’t tell to save my life. Hilarious! The man and daughter love the tall tree!

You’ll notice my furry friend nemesis in this shot:

Like I said. I do love the tree, really I do. It’s huge, and it’s spectacular:

tall christmas tree Lowe's

We always put the “kid” tree upstairs – we have a lot of his/family ornaments on the big one too, but this tree is just dedicated to pure fun. We get a Hallmark ornament every year in July the fall:

hallmark ornament hallmark ornament hallmark ornament hallmark ornament   

That last one is my favorite – we found it this year and it’s PERFECT, since we went to Disney this year (the first trip for both my son and I). The castle is my favorite part of the park and it lights up and the fireworks go off on the ornament. It’s wonderful. :)

I’ve had a real tree every year of my life up until we got the beast a few years ago. There’s pros and cons to each one, real and fake, but overall I do like the fake for ease of use. But goodness, I missed the real tree smell. So we decided to do a (small) real one for the kiddo’s tree every year from now on.

We always go with a Frasier Fir, my absolute favorite:

Frasier Fir

Since it’s smaller I’m hoping the mess won’t be too bad. We’ll see about that. :)

Finally, I purchased a green flocked tree for our newly finished basement last year:

flocked fake tree

I fill it with white, blue and green ornaments and I LOVE it. I’m super happy with it – the flock doesn’t fall off like crazy and it’s just a beautiful tree overall. I got it from WalMart and I noticed they had them again earlier this year. I say it’s my favorite but they’re all my favorites, depending on my mood. :)

OK, now it’s time to see your homes/trees/decor/whatever! Everything goes this year, not just trees! Have fun and please visit and comment on a few of those linked up if you have the time.

If you are new to linky parties and would like to add a link, you’ll just want to go to the title of your blog post and “copy” it by right clicking on the title – then paste that code into the box that asks for the url. You are welcome to use my button in your post, or a link back is always appreciated.

Have a great one and enjoy!


Party time, excellent!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013 0 comments

Hey hey! It’s about that time again! Did you think I’d forget? Pushaw. No. way.

This is the 6th year I’ve hosted my Christmas Tree Party here on TDC – pretty cool right? Kind of crazy.

This year I’m changing it up a bit – pretty much anything goes. Well, Christmas-related anyway. It’s still a tree party, but if there’s a picture of a Christmas tree in the post, it’s good. Got a tree in your front yard? You’re golden. Like trees? Well, then join in. All holiday decor is welcome. :)

For those just looking, you can sock away ideas for next year (helloooo Pinterest!) or maybe implement something fun before the holiday.

Here’s the graphic you can use in your post if you’d like: 

Christmas Tree party, Thrifty Decor Chick

I will do my best to have the post up by 11 a.m. EST. If you’d like to reminisce till then, you can see the 2008 party here, 2009 here, 2010, 2011 and then last year’s here.

For those of you new to a blogland “party” – it’s simply a way for bloggers to link up their projects and ideas in one spot. So you’ll have a bunch of beautiful pics to check out. Plan some free time – it sucks you in. If you’re a new blogger I’ll explain a little more on linking up tomorrow.

And I’ve updated all the links to the Christmas Tour of Homes too:

blogger Christmas tourYou can see all of those beautiful homes at the end of the post here!

Hope to see you back here tomorrow! :)