Category: New Life, New Hobbies

You Had Me at Free.

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I hit up the annual neighborhood garage sales and came home with this sad little table.
I was looking around the stuff in the driveway and walked past this nightstand. It had a sticker on it that said 10$. Although I thought it would be nice to get rid of the old school one that we had I really didn’t want it bad enough to spend a whopping 10 whole dollars. I saved those buys for things that I knew I ‘had’ to have.
On my way to the car I heard a man shout “If you want that table it’s yours!”
I turned around and I saw a man standing there with his wife next to him, and both of them were laughing. They told me that they *really* didn’t want to move it back into the garage and that If I was willing to take it…it was mine.

So of course I loaded into the car.
And I knew that I could give it a little bit of love.


Boys Bathroom Project


This project has kept my ‘spare’ time pretty busy for the last few weeks.
Max is cutting teeth and his napping and sleeping schedule has shifted, and the boys are home for summer, but I have still tried to squish in a couple of the more simple projects on my list.

This is the boys bathroom and I really just wanted to freshen it up. I don’t mind dark wood but it feels heavy because there is so much of it throughout the house. So I decided this would be a good place to get started. I began by sanding and painting the trim, I moved on to the vanity, and sanded and painted the closet doors and updated all of the hardware.

I also took the brown doors away to the land of the unwanted stuff, (the garage) and replaced them with more modern, white doors. Still have one to hang but it looks and feels better already.

I am always so surprised at how the small tweaks and changes can make such a big difference. I really like the way white feels. It is lighter and somehow makes the space feel less drab and claustrophobic.

And although sanding and painting is hard work it always relaxes me. I have found it to be therapeutic. It seems to be one of the only hobbies that I have, aside from reading, where I am able to clear and quiet my mind and not think about anything whatsoever.
And I really like seeing the results. It is always rewarding in the end.

Happily moving onto the next project which according to the messy plan in my head will be the upstairs hallway. I have always meant to get to that part of the house but we haven’t painted since we bought the house 8 years ago.

I am grateful that I have found hobbies that keep me busy and help me to relax. I encourage you, if you are reading this and are sober or in recovery, to try new things! Find some things that you connect with and that help you to enjoy being with yourself, and that can help you to relax or decompress.

It doesn’t matter if they are not as common as other people’s hobbies. The best part is that there are so many options! Get out there and try some new things.

Simple & Personalized Key Holder.

I am borderline compulsive when it comes to certain things. Things like organizing any closet that I walk by, hanging clothes in color and seasonal order, or grouping my book collection by genre because it’s so super important.
But I am also never late, but always right on time, I have always had a bad habit of losing my keys or locking them in my car. All of the batteries in all of the things are likely in panic warning mode desperately in need of a charge …
all in all, I do lack in organization in certain areas.

So I like organizational things that actually help.
This super-simply key holder was a no brainer.
I totally ‘needed’ it in my life and now I have one.

I had an old frame, I already had spray paint and even the cheapo hooks.

This is one project the boys have already laughed at and have voted it unnecessary.
However, I have not had to run around trying to find my keys, so I voted that it stay.
I win.

Here is the original pic from the post that I used as inspiration:

How To Easily Hem Pants:

Since I had Maxwell, I have been on a new -to- me fitness journey.
(Read about that here if you are interested in forms of self-sabotage that I have indulged in)

Anyway I am working hard and am losing at least a pound or two every couple of weeks. (or 6 or 7 or 8 weeks) 🙂

This means that I refuse to buy new jeans or new pants; because it wouldn’t make sense right now. What I have been doing is happily buying gently used jeans from consignment/thrift stores. It takes awhile to find any that I like, and when or if I do, they are ALWAYS 3-7 inches too long. I live in the shorter side of life…where you will find the rest of the cool people. Definitely joking.

So I find jeans that I like, and I hem them myself. 

—-I am what you would consider an admitted lazy, non-conventional seamstress.

So, if that doesn’t bother you–keep reading.



Here is quick summary of how-to easily 
hem your pants:
(Highly likely my way is not the by the book way)

*Total time from start to finish: About an hour
*Tools needed: (5) Some kind of sewing machine, a white crayon, scissors, pins, & a ruler.

1. Try on your jeans figure out how long you want them to be.  
Put one shoe on your left foot, and a different shoe on your right foot.
I chose two that differed a little bit in height.
I knew that I would only be wearing these particular jeans with tennis shoes or Sperry’s.
Cuff (not cut) cuff them right where you like them.
(Where you want them to be when you are completely done)

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2. Iron the cuffs.
After you cuff them, take them off and iron them at the creases/folds of your cuff.
Make sure your iron is on a high setting. Iron both sides of each leg.
These creases are very important.
(Side note: For darker pants or black slacks I would use a spray bottle (steam) or starch)

3. Grab the ruler, the white crayon, and scissors. 
Unfold your cuff.
Make sure that you can see a distinct line on both legs of your pants:

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4.Mark your cutting line.
Align the left side of your ruler with your fresh crease.
Use your white crayon to mark the right side of the ruler.
Like this:



Here you can see the crease from where I ironed, and the white line from the crayon.
Do this to both pant legs:


5. Cut your jeans.
Cut right down the white line (not the creases that you ironed) that you made.


6. Time to pin.
Fold up and under using the ironed crease as your reference point.
I pinned about every inch and a half or so all the way around each side on both pant legs.
Your fold will be right at the crease and pinned, not going higher than your crease.
(remember, that crease is the length that you chose originally, so don’t fold past that point, fold right up, right at the crease and pin)


7. Sew.
I like to use the width of the guide plate to determine where I will start stitching. This way, it is simple, no extra work, and it is simple to gauge where to start on both pant legs.


8. Try them on and hope you didn’t completely mess them up.
(That’s what I usually do)

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Small Bathroom Facelift -Quick and Easy DIY

Our whole house is going to go through small updates and changes here and there.
I thought I’d post our projects for other people who don’t have thousands in disposable income, or for others like us, who don’t have debt and want to keep it that way.
We just try to work simple and smart.

After living here for almost seven years, we were both definitely ready to get this update started.

I should note that we aren’t renovating anything, just updating cosmetic things.
I am always so excited and surprised when small changes, make such a huge difference.

We are starting in the basement. Our first DIY project was the bathroom.

Here’s the before pic.
Note the popcorn ceiling and the nice leafy wallpaper.



Popcorn removal:
Our first order of business was scraping the popcorn off.
We sprayed the ceiling with warm water from a cheapo water bottle
and used a 12 inch scraper like this one: to scrape the popcorn off.

Messy yes, but very easy.

Wallpaper removal:
Next we filled that same water bottle with equal parts white vinegar and hot water.
I saturated the wall paper border with this mixture, and let it sit.
I went around the room and gave it a good first coating and by the time I came back around it was ready to be scraped off.
I used a small putty knife to scrape. I tore off all that I could and the thin layer left came right off.

Next, I swept the bathroom.
I got all of the wallpaper and popcorn into a trash bag.
After the walls and ceiling were dry, I gently wiped down the walls with a dry cloth to get any remaining dust/popcorn.

Filling holes: 
I filled all of the nail holes and uneven places with drywall spackling. I know there are nail hole fillers out there and other things, but I prefer to use this stuff. We had some large holes to fill.
I let this dry for around 5 hours or so.
Then we sanded.

After another round of wiping down the walls and one last good and thorough sweep and mop of the floor, it was time to remove the big commercial 80’s mirror, and paint. 


Ceiling Paint:
We used a standard bright white flat ceiling paint. It comes in antique white, almond white etc. We liked the bright white for our small space.
I painted the perimeter of the ceiling first with a small brush. I cut in about 6 inches or so all the way around. I did two coats.
I rolled the rest of the ceiling and did about two coats, allowing it to dry for about an hour in between coats.

Wall paint:
Next I did the same thing to the walls. I painted the perimeter of the room, cutting in about 6 inches all the way around the entire room. Then, I rolled the rest. I did two coats.

We went with vinyl peel and stick tile. They are durable, can withstand water/moisture, and are very reasonably priced. They did the job.

I bought a mirror from Wal-Mart for 29 bucks. It was this coppery color, but I liked the price tag.
I taped it off and spray painted it black. I wanted a larger mirror without the increase in price. Mirrors are pricey. So, with a little bit of extra work, I got what I wanted.

I posted our before and after pics to Facebook. A friend of mine who happens to be a pretty rad interior designer, suggested we paint the vanity black.
I had been going back and forth with the idea. I couldn’t decide between black or white.
I just decided she probably knew best, because i am not a trained designer. So we went with black.
I am so happy we did!

I lightly sanded off the glossy finish first.
Then I took off the doors and took them outside.
I spray painted the hinges black (lazy, maybe but cheap and quick)
and taped off the vanity from the floors and walls.

I used this product to paint the vanity:

I painted one coat and waited about two hours.
Then I did the second coat. That did it!

The last thing that we did was put the rugs in, change the toilet seat, add new led fluorescent light bulbs, and clean the bathroom one final time.

Eventually, we will change out the toilet paper holder, the knobs, and the towel bar.
But for now, we are very happy with our results and are moving on to the bigger part of the basement. I will post those pics when we are finished.
The popcorn removal has already begun, and the carpet is (YES!)

Feel free to ask questions if you have any. My email address can be found here:

I turned off comments a long time ago, because ..spam.

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