Mudroom Progress

Happy Friday! I know I haven’t been sharing a lot on our progress lately. It’s because both of our current projects, the mudroom and the Master Bath have looked like a bomb exploded recently.

If you remember, this is where we started when we purchased the house:
Mudroom Before
Yep, there were two types of flooring in that room. We think that there was a renovation in the early 90s and that there used to be a wall where the flooring changes.

Mudroom Progress
When we moved in, we did a mini update with slate-esque (aka porcelain faked out to look like slate) flooring and changed up the wall color. In my defense, it was very buttery yellow in the store. On the walls, it was the opposite of buttery = NEON.

Then it pretty much stayed the same for a year, until we bought some a new washer and dryer and I begged and pleaded for mutually decided that it needed another facelift. We added beadboard and changed the wall color again. Last week we FINALLY changed up the light fixture:

Fun, right? It’s a Home Depot light fixture that was all white and I spray painted the top. The bottom is still white. It was $50 which I thought was expensive, but it was exactly what I was looking for.

My husband has spent his free time over the past week or so building our new bench. I don’t think he minded too much because he was able to put his new nail gun to good use (that he got for his birthday):

with storage for sorting laundry:

Awesome right? I’m kind of excited about getting rid of the laundry basket full of dirty clothes that sits on top of the washer and dryer.

The sides will be painted to match the Linen White on the walls and the top is going to be stained dark, but that’s after some serious putting and wood filler. Here’s where the room stands now:

DSCF3203 edited
John is going to work on the shelf over the bench next, but I think we’re getting a lot closer to our inspiration picture:

We saw this picture and realized that it’s really the same setup as what we have in our room.

Any fun plans for the weekend? I’m going to my niece’s dance recital tonight and yard sale-ing in the morning. Wish me luck! I hope I find some good stuff. I haven’t had too much luck at the yard sales this year.

Bathroom Tower Update

I hope you all had a great weekend! We had beautiful weather here and on our trip to Ikea Charlotte. We got our countertops and guess what else…

NOTHING! Can you believe that? I’m half super proud and half horrified… what a missed opportunity.

In other news… I finished the final project of the master bathroom this weekend! We have this super cheapo cabinet in our bathroom but it was dark brown and didn’t go with the lighter color scheme in the bathroom, so I updated it:
Bathroom Tower Update
Here’s how it started:

Bathroom Tower Update
So I primed it and spray painted it with Rustoleum’s Heirloom White. I had a hardware backplate leftover from updating my cabinets, so I used it on the door. I really like how it pulls this piece in with the cabinets:

Bathroom Tower UpdateBathroom Tower Update

Then I used some leftover fabric from my DIY Upholstered Valance, cut it to fit and used Elmer’s Craft Spray Adhesive to add it to the back of the open shelves in the cabinet:

Bathroom Tower Update

Don’t you love quick projects? I think this took me 3 hours beginning to end (including drying type for the spray paint).

Bathroom Tower Update

I think it looks much better in the space and not quite as I-bought-this-off-the-shelf-at-Walmart. (Not that there’s anything wrong with Wally-world. I certainly do my fair share of shopping there). Plus, since I only used stuff I had on hand, this was a $0 project!
Since this was the final project in this room, the Master Bathroom is officially complete. Look for a reveal later this week (when I clean up a little and get around to taking pictures).


Beautiful Bridal Party {Bridesmaids’ Luncheon}

Have I mentioned to you that my Mom is amazing? She’s funny, kind, loving, generous and SERIOUSLY knows how to throw a party. On Friday, she hosted a bridesmaids luncheon for a sweet friend. It was something out of Southern Living. The palette was all pale blue and orange, which was really fun and bright for a summer party.

Prepare for an overload of beautiful pictures:

Guests were greeted at the door with their choice of Peach Sweet Tea or Low Country Lemonade. Since the temperatures were pushing 100 by this point, the drinks went quickly:
Party Decorations
Tip: The paper tops are actually cupcake liners! They fit perfectly over the top of a 12oz Mason jar. Who knew?

My parents back porch looked beautiful.
Party Decorations
As I was taking these pictures, I realized that I really ought to show you more pictures of my parents house. It’s beautiful and has tons of really unique details.
Party Decorations
and the food was incredible. Chilled Tomato Bisque, biscuits with honey and Grilled Salmon and Peach Salad.
Party Decorations
Party Decorations
Instead of the traditional charms that are pulled out of the cake, each ribbon had a scripture written on it related to marriage. The scriptures were used to pray over the bride. I can’t believe I didn’t get a picture of the inside of this cake. About 6 thin layers of cake colored in blue and orange.
Other fun details:
Party Decorations
Amazing right? My mom worked herself to the bone, but I definitely think the bride appreciated it.
Party Decorations
The bride is second from the right on the front row. Isn’t she gorgeous? She’s an incredible woman and was a beautiful bride on Saturday. Congrats, Elizabeth!

Oh and don’t forget to enter the My Memories Suite Giveaway. it ends tomorrow night at midnight!

Giveaway: Thumbprint Designs Custom Artwork

First: thank you all for your sweet notes on my Master Bathroom Reveal yesterday.

Second: I officially can’t avoid it any longer… today is my 30th birthday. Let’s dissect this for a minute:

I have dreaded this day for at least 2 years. To me, it signifies the true end of my youth. As of yesterday, I was still in “my twenties” and was given some grace on stupid decisions. I mean, I realize that I’ve been paying my own bills, married, owned a house, cleaning that house (mostly), etc for quite a few years now… but at least I still felt young. I do not feel young today.

Third: I have a new favorite font and it’s called Scrap Casual. I will be implementing it a lot in the near future.

Fourth: In honor of today and to help cheer me up, my sweet friend, Skye from Neathering Our Fest (blog) and Thumbprint Designs (Etsy shop) has offered to host a giveaway for you. Now, I can actually call Skye my friend, because we were roomies at Haven. She’s wonderful and makes some AMAZING artwork. I love these wedding signs that she does:

They can be completely customized… or I guess you could get someone else’s initials if that floats your boat.
I think this sign would make a super fun base for an autumn mantle:

So, here’s the deal. Skye is giving away a $40 credit to any sign in her store.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
There should be a Rafflecopter giveaway widget there. If there’s not (apparently it play well with readers or Internet Explorer sometimes), please leave me a comment and tell me which of the following entries you did:

  • Leave a blog post comment: tell me what you’d put on your sign.
  • Like Life on Mars on Facebook.
  • Heart Thumbprint Designs on Etsy.
  • Follow Life on Mars and Neathering Our Fest on GFC, RSS or email (one entry for each follow).

Good luck!

How to Make a Valance {Upholstered Valance Tutorial}

So the Valance has officially been hanging without issue for 3 days, so I’m gonna go ahead and give you the tutorial and if it falls again, then I’ll just have to revise it. But our latest solution seems to be working well, so I feel 100% 75% confident. What’s a DIY project without a little uncertainty?

How to Make a Valance
So I decided to go with an upholstered valance for a few reasons. (1) this window is directly over the toilet and full size curtains would gross me out. Let’s be honest, they boys splash sometimes. (2) It’s right next to the shower and I thought it would be too much with the shower curtain. (3) I still wanted a little something interesting to pull all the colors in here together.

I found this fabric on and loved it. It was a little bit of a splurge for me at $22/yd (I rarely pay more than $15) but I loved it, it fit kinda perfectly in here and I only needed about a yard, so that was still going to turn out pretty cheap.

Here’s what you need:

  • 1 yd of fabric
  • batting
  • 3 pieces 20×30 Foam Board, 1/2” thick
  • Duck Tape
  • Box Cutter
  • Spray Adhesive
  • Staple Gun
  • OOK Brass-Plated Steel 1-Step Hangers

NOTE: I used 3/16” foam board but that’s all I could find. It would have made this project MUCH easier if I’d had the 1/2”.

NOTE #2: I loosely followed the tutorial given HERE by Little Green Notebook, but I had to guess at a few steps which is why I’m giving you another one.

NOTE #3: This is a very detailed tutorial, but it’s a very easy project that took less than 2 hours start to finish, so don’t let the length of the unnecessarily wordy extremely informative tutorial scare you.

1. Measure your window. You’ll want your valance to be about 2-3” out from the window and 1-2” longer than the casing. The height it really up to you. Mine ended up being 40w x 16h x 3d.

2. Look around Pinterest and figure out what shape you want for your valance. There are a million options (here are two of my favorites: HERE and HERE that I loosely based this project on).

Use that picture to create a template out of one of the pieces of foam board. You only want to draw out half of the valance for the template:
How to Make a Valance
The piece on top is my template. Use that to draw your shape on to the other two pieces of foam board. This will give you mirror images.

Since my valance is 40” wide, the two pieces ended up being the exact width I needed. If you’re really good, you could probably skip this step and eyeball it.
How to Make a Valance
3. Use your box cutter to lightly trace along your lines. Don’t try to go all the way through the foam board on the first try or it’ll tear. Just try to score it on the first pass and then go a little deeper with each consecutive pass until you’re all the way through. It took me 3 passes on the 3/16” to get all the way through with a clean cut. It would take more if you’re using the 1/2”.

4. This is where I got a little creative.I wanted the center to have some support, so I grabbed some tooth picks and stuck them into the foam to connect the two pieces:
Sorry, I realize that’s a terrible picture. The tooth picks just give it a little extra support so that it doesn’t bend in the center.

Then coat the center in duck tape. I used A LOT of duck tape to give it as much support as possible:
How to Make a Valance
5. Cut the side pieces to the depth you need. These should just be straight cuts. Duct tape those into place (see the left size of the above picture). I only needed 1 side piece, because my window butts into a wall on the right side, but you’ll probably need two.

6. Lay the valance form face down on the batting and cut it to about 2” extra on each side. Make sure the batting is smooth. Spray the front-sideof the form with your adhesive spray (I used Elmer’s Adhesive Craft Glue) and stick it to the batting. Spray along the edges on the back of the valance, pull the batting tight and attach it to the back all the way around:

How to Make a Valance
I did two layers of batting, but that’s really up to you.

NOTE: If you are a professional upholsterer have any experience upholstering anything, please stop reading. I’m embarrassed for the rest of this tutorial.

7. Place your form on your fabric (front-side of the fabric should be down). If you have a pattern, be sure that your form is placed where you want it to get the full pattern and is level so that you’re not cutting at an angle across your fabric.

Cut your fabric to 2” wider than the valance form. Spray the front-side with the spray and attach it to the fabric (be sure that the fabric has no wrinkles).

8. Pull the fabric tight around the back and staple into the foam board. This is where thicker foam board would have been great. A lot of my staples didn’t want to stick because the foam board was so thin.
How to Make a Valance
Staple all the way around and try not to do this:

How to Make a Valance
9. The valance is done. Pat yourself on the back, think about what a great job you did and hand it to your husband to hang. He will give you a weird look like “how the heck am I supposed to hang this? There are no hooks, no places for screws and no wood to attach to the wall.”

Hand him your handy dandy mounting tape which will definitely hold it. No problem! Then revisit this discussion in 3 days when the mounting tape does not hold and you find your valance sitting on the toilet.

10. Or Skip #9 and use these:
How to Make a Valance
They are OOK Brass-Plated Steel 1-Step Hangers. Punch the short end into your fabric (and into the foam if you can) and punch the other end into the wall. We used 3 on each side. It was a little more difficult than that, but you get the idea. It helps to make pilot holes in the wall so that you can push them in easily.

Stand back and admire your handiwork that would have been for nothing, if your husband hadn’t saved the day.
How to Make a Valance

How to Make a Valance
Total cost of this project was about $30 including fabric, batting, hangers and foam board.
I love it! Now if it’ll just stay in place…

Master Bathroom Makeover

So I kind of dropped off the face of the earth last week… I don’t even have a good excuse like I was super busy. I just didn’t really have anything to post about since I kept forgetting to take the pictures of the Master Bathroom. Then I didn’t really feel like making up something.

So today is the last day of my twenties… more on that tomorrow, but to cheer myself up I finally have the Master Bathroom reveal for you.

Bathroom Makeover
Here’s a trip down memory lane and what she used to look like…
Bathroom Makeover
I don’t know why there’s an ottoman in this picture. Your guess is as good as mine.

Anyway, before, the bathroom was dark, lacked serious privacy and I really hated the hunter green color and the lighting fixtures in here:

Bathroom MakeoverBathroom Makeover
We bought the vanity lights at the Habitat Restore for $4.50 (and spray painted them) and purchased new globes on ebay for $7each. I think that was a huge improvement. We (and by we, I mean John) also moved the overhead light to over the tub and installed a chandelier.

Bathroom Makeover
Please note: I do not recommend putting in a chandelier over your tub since it’s not to code. When and if we sell this house in the future, we will probably have to change it. But oh, it does look so pretty.

I don’t know why the chandelier looks off center in this picture, but I promise, it’s not.

Obviously, we also painted the ceiling and vanities blue (Valspar’s La Fonda Mirage), painted the walls Benjamin Moore Linen White and added crown molding. I updated the tower with some spray paint and fabric behind the shelves:

Bathroom Makeover
We also added privacy to the windows with Wallpaper for Windows and made a custom valance (for $30):

Bathroom Makeover
Overall, I think it’s a pretty huge transformation:

Bathroom MakeoverBathroom Makeover
These pictures were taken around the same time of day (but I will say I’ve learned how to use my camera better so that helps a lot).

What do you think? Come back tomorrow. I have a great giveaway in honor of my 2nd 29th birthday!

Kitchen Makeover with Ikea Butcher Block Countertops

This may be the fastest makeover we’ve ever tackled. The Mudroom took about 6 months to complete all the projects, but from beginning to end (including a week for recovery from toe smashing), this one was 3 weeks. I’m pretty much in love with my new kitchen:

Kitchen Makeover
Let’s backtrack for a minute though. Here’s the progression of our kitchen over the past year and a half:

View from the Family Room:
Kitchen Makeover
Kitchen Makeover
The biggest difference here was early on. I think we removed those cabinets dividing the spaces on the 3rd day we lived in this house. It immediately opened up both rooms and made the rooms much more functional for entertaining.

On an unrelated side note, I think I might paint those stools a fun color? The black doesn’t really go anymore now that the countertops are wooden.

View towards the Family Room:
Kitchen Makeover
Kitchen Makeover

Ikea Butcherblock Countertops
I have to brag on John (again!). He did ALL of the heavy work on this project. He cut all the boards, cut out the holes for the stove and sink (and that sink is super curvy), and he stained and sealed all the countertops. He did a much better job than I probably would have done. I love the color and the warmth the wood brings to the space. I did tackle all the tiling of the backsplash. I’ll talk about that in a later post (I had s secret weapon that made it SO MUCH EASIER). I love how the backsplash turned out. It just gives the right finished look to the kitchen.

Kitchen Makeover
We used Minwax Special Walnut stain (2 coats) and Waterlox for the seal (3 coats, top and bottom). There are some really great tutorials in the blogosphere that we used as guidance for these projects, but most of all we used the tutorial from This and That. It gave such detailed instructions for each step, that there’s really no reason for me to rehash it. Check it out if you are tackling this project!

Ikea Butcherblock Countertops
I’m so blessed to have a husband that is willing to put in so much work and effort into our home. I’m impressed by his skill and his determination and most of all, I’m thankful that he’s mine and is willing to make all these ideas into reality for me.

Ikea Butcherblock CountertopsIkea Butcherblock Countertops

Now, I’ll admit that this was NOT our least expensive home project. It landed somewhere around $1000 after countertops, sink, faucet, backsplash and grout were included, but that’s still significantly better than the average kitchen remodel. What do you think?

Mudroom Reveal {Laundry Room Makeover}

I know you are thinking one of two things…

  1. I can’t believe she’s actually finally posting this. She’s been talking about it FOREVER.
  2. What Mudroom? I don’t remember that project???

On both accounts, you’d be right. We started this little project back in March. Yep, that was 6 months ago (seriously, how is it September???). But between the Master Bathroom and now the kitchen, we got distracted. That’s why you should never tackle more than one room at a time. For the record, we are currently working on the kitchen, we purchased materials for the guest bath, made some updates in the family room and have started planning the nursery. Rules are made for breaking.

Anyway… back to the Mudroom/Laundry Room. Here she is:

Laundry Room Makeover
Here’s the progression of this room:

Laundry Room Makeover
We started with a room that was half laminate and half wood flooring. Last year, we tiled and painted the walls, but I hated the color almost immediately. When the lights were on it, it was practically neon yellow.

This year, we:

  • added the bedboard 3/4th of the way up the walls:

Laundry Room Makeover

  • Painted a greyish brown (I can’t remember the name, but I’ll try to find it and update this post)
  • Added the bench and shelf

Laundry Room Makeover
OK seriously, this is where I need to take a minute to brag on my husband. He made both of these completely from scratch based only on a picture I provided from pinterest and then made adjustments based on my desire for corbels and a closed bench with internal storage (which is now my laundry sorter). The shelf is made from two pieces of wood, 5” crown molding and 4 corbels. It’s gorgeous. Here’s a close up:
Laundry Room Makeover
How great is that? It looks like it could be one solid piece of wood instead of 7 separate pieces.
John actually mentioned to me that his projects seem to be getting more difficult each time I come up with something to do. But each time he impresses me so much that I have to see what else he can do, right?

  • We added a piece of PureBond Hardwood Plywood over the washer and dryer to add a nice laundry shelf:

Laundry Room Makeover
PureBond was perfect for this project. It’s actually plywood that has a veneer of solid wood on both sides, so it can be stained. It has a really nice finish with beautiful grain on the wood. Here it is in an unfinished stage:

Laundry Room Makeover
PureBond can be used for any project that you would normally use plywood for or that you’d have to use a high end piece of hardwood if you’re planning on staining. It’s the best of both worlds. Plus it’s completely formaldehyde free and available through most Home Depot stores.If your HD doesn’t stock it, they can special order in almost any wood grain. I’d highly recommend it and will definitely use it again.

That’s it! Pretty big difference beginning to end, huh?

Laundry Room Makeover
What do you think?

Tutorial: Tile Backsplash Tutorial

GIVEAWAY: Don’t forget to enter the Royal Design Studio Stencil Giveaway!

How was your weekend? I spent the weekend celebrating with my future sister-in-law (just two more weeks!) and we were up in the North Carolina mountains. What a perfect way to bring in the fall! We had beautiful weather with crisp breezes and chilly evenings.

Tile Backsplash TutorialTile Backsplash Tutorial
A few weeks ago when I did my kitchen makeover, I promised to do a tutorial on the backsplash. This process was so much easier than I expected because of a secret weapon which I’ll share with you today.
We bought our tile from Home Depot for $4.99/sq. ft. I always buy extra tile since you can take it back if you have leftovers. I bought 35 sq. ft but took back 7, so I ended up spending about $140 on the tile. Here’s what I used for this project:

Tile Backsplash Tutorial

  • Tile
  • Tile Setting Mat
  • Premixed Sanded Grout
  • Sponges
  • Grout Float (not pictured)
  • Grout Sealer

Tile Backsplash Tutorial
Here’s the secret: these tile setting mats (available at Home Depot) were pricey but worth every penny in my opinion. They are $20 for 10 sq. ft. and I managed to use just 2 boxes. I used 27 sq. ft in tile, so I’m pretty sure that it covers a little more than what the box says. These mats are essentially a sticker with two types of adhesive (one for the wall and one for the tile) and it completely replaces mortar.

BENEFITS: it’s quick, easy, and mess free. Mortar is hard to work with, messy and you have to be careful that it doesn’t start to dry before you get the tile up. The only negative in my opinion is that it’s more expensive than mortar.

NOTE: SimpleMat Tile Setting Mats are only approved for backsplashes, countertops and shower walls. Do not used on floors.


Tile Backsplash Tutorial
1. Peel off the white side of the tile setting mat (leave the clear side on until you are ready to place tile) and press to the wall.

Be VERY careful to place it exactly where you want it. It really doesn’t want to come off once it’s on the wall. It pulled my drywall off the couple of times that I did. Use the grout float to push out any air bubbles and make sure that it’s complete adhered.

Tile Backsplash Tutorial
2. I put up all the adhesive before moving to tile. It will be fine as long as you leave all the clear plastic on the top. Be sure to cut out holes for outlets and any other things you might need to work around. The adhesive cuts VERY easily with a razor blade or sharp scissors between the rows of glue dots (you can see those in the picture above). Try not to cut through a dot. It wont mess up the adhesive, but it will mess up your scissors (they get very sticky).

TIP: Save your scraps because at the end I was able to use all the scraps to finish the last section so that I didn’t have to get an extra box.

Tile Backsplash TutorialTile Backsplash Tutorial
3. Add the tile. Pull off the clear plastic in sections and place tile against glue dots. Again, be very careful with your placement. This is a little more adjustable than the first step. Don’t push too hard on the tile until you are confident in the placement. Once you like it, push the tile into the glue.
If you are using mosaic tile on a mesh backing (like the above), just cut through the mess as needed with a razor blade. Super easy.

4. Here’s the beauty of the Tile Setting Mats: You don’t have to wait for mortar to dry before applying grout. I did it all in a single night. Use the premixed grout ($10/can) and the float to fill in the lines. You want to really push it into the cracks (which was a serious workout for my arm and shoulders).
You can mix your own grout if you want and save a few bucks, but again, I was more interested in speed, simplicity and mess on this project.

Note: You will use more grout than you think because there are so many cracks with mosaic tile. I used 5 cans of premixed grout.

5. Use a damp sponge to wipe down the grout. You want to make sure you get the sand off the tiles.

6. Let dry for at least 24 hours. Use a kitchen sponge with a scratchy side to clean tile. You want to get all the grout haze removed.

Tile Backsplash Tutorial
7. After grout has dried for 48 hours, apply the grout sealer. It’s pretty self-explanatory. The bottle has a brush, squeeze as you wipe over the grout. Let dry 30 minutes and apply a second coat. Wipe it down.
That’s it! Here’s the breakdown:

Adhesive: $40 and about 45 minutes for install
Tiles: $140 and about 1 hr for install
Grout: $50 and about 2-3 hours for install
Cleaning: $3 for sponges and about 1 hr
Sealing: $10 and about 30 minutes
Total: $243 and about 6 hours

Simple, fairly quick and it makes a huge difference:
Tile Backsplash TutorialTile Backsplash Tutorial

Recipe: Apple Dew Dumplings

Happy Thanksgiving week! I hope you have plans to share a big turkey with some wonderful people. We’re heading to my parent’s lake house tomorrow for a couple of days to celebrate the holiday.

If you’re looking for a last minute dessert idea, I’m here to help you out. Plus, this is one that the kids can help make as well.
Recipe: Apple Dew Dumplings
A friend introduced us to this recipe last year and we love it.


  • 1 Stick of Butter, melted
  • 1 Cup Sugar (did I mention it was healthy, too?)
  • 1 t. Cinnamon (or to taste)
  • 1 t. Vanilla
  • 2 Large Granny Smith Apples, peeled and cored
  • 6 oz Mountain Dew
  • 2 Cans Original Crescent Rolls (or Big N Flaky for fatter dumplings)

Mix melted butter with next 3 ingredients. Cut apples into eights. Roll each individual eighth into a crescent roll and place into a glass baking dish. Let them have a little room between them or they’ll be a little mushy on the bottom. The spoon butter mixture over each dumpling until empty. Pour mountain dew over the top.

Recipe: Apple Dew Dumplings

Yes, I know Mountain Dew is a weird ingredient. It’s delicious. Don’t worry.

Bake for about 25 min at 375 or until crescent rolls are done. Remove and let cool for 10 minutes. Serve with ice cream.

These are always a hit when I make them. Enjoy and Happy Thanksgiving!

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