Monthly Archives

January 2016

DIY Projects, Home Decor

How to Hide the Ugly Media Stuff

I am so so so excited to show you today’s project. This one has me absolutely giddy. Y’all know this has been the year of the trash bag, aka I’m getting rid of everything and despising clutter. I’ve been thinking long and hard about what “clutter” even is, and sometimes I think it can be anything that isn’t pleasing to the eye. Even if it’s necessary. So then the dillema becomes how do I get rid of the clutter if it’s necessary? Today I want to share with you some simple things I did in my living room that make everything look SO MUCH neater and cleaner and just all around better.

So Ethan is a media guy. He loves sound, and “equipment” is important to him. If it were up to me, I’d be listening to the TV sound from the speakers that are built into the TV. But apparently, my poor untrained ears don’t even know how awful that is. Needless to say, the large speakers and subwoofer weren’t going anywhere. Don’t know what a subwoofer is? You’re not alone. I didn’t either until I met my husband. Marriage is compromise people. But you can at least make the compromise pretty. First, let me show you what sort of equipment we were dealing with here.


See how I tried to make it pretty with a vase on top? I wasn’t fooling anyone.


The media dresser was a project I completed a long time ago, pre-blog, when we first got married. It’s helping the situation, but in about the same way that a bandaid helps a broken arm.


This side is the worst of all. (That on the left is the subwoofer, by the way. It’s the bass of speaker sound. Or something like that.) The power strip, the X-box controlers, all of it.

We tossed around the idea of building a completely new unit that would fit the speakers into it, but ultimately decided against it for two reasons. First, it would end up being extremely long were it long enough to keep the storage we currently had in the drawers and hold the excess equipment. Knowing this house is not our permanent home (thankfully), we didn’t want something so long that its use would be limited in another house. Second, the cost would be higher to build something new entirely than to fix what we already had. So, you know me. I was on a mission to DIY the heck out of this thing.


Here’s a closeup of one of the speakers when I finished it. Using the old coverings for the speakers (they were not pictured in the original photo, but luckily we had them stored in a closet), I tore off the old black material. I recovered the frames with a cream colored muslin. With my 40% off coupon at Hobby Lobby, it cost me under two dollars. I then added chicken wire over that just to add some texture. The chicken wire cost about six dollars at Home Depot, bringing my project up to a grand total of eight dollars.


The sides of the speakers got a coat of gray chalk paint. The paint was a new-to-me brand from a local shop, and I really liked the way it turned out. Goodbye dark wood veneer!


The last and most important (in my opinion) part was the basket on the far left. It took me a couple of weeks to find a basket big enough, but I finally found one large enough to fit the subwoofer, power strip, and X-box controllers. I painted the bottom half of it the same color as the speakers just to break up so much of the tan color on the front. On the backside of the basket I used wirecutters to cut just enough of the weaving to push power cords through. Topped with a blanket, you cannot even see all the necessary uglies inside!

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My goal was to make the speakers look more like a piece of furniture that belongs in the room, rather than an eyesore that I have to crop out of photos.

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Ethan even agrees that they look better, and luckily for me, it doesn’t affect the sound quality having the chicken wire over the speakers. Also note the printer’s drawer? That conveniently covers the cord that hangs from the TV.

Maybe I’m crazy for thinking this, but technology is just ugly. If it were up to me, I wouldn’t have any of this stuff in the house at all. What a beautiful sight that would be! But alas, this is the life we live. The remaining visible pieces are the few that I don’t mind having out. The record player on top is where I play my Julie Andrews and Johnny Cash, and the other stuff needs to be accessible for the remote. Overall, I am so happy with the way this area looks.

It only took a year and a half, but I do love how this turned out.

And just for fun and a good laugh, here’s a throwback to what this area looked like when I first moved in after we got married. (Ethan lived here alone before we were married and I moved into his turf.)


YIKES. I know. I may not know much about design, or have a beautifully furnished house that I’m completely in love with, but at least I can sit back and be proud of the fact that we’re not living like this anymore.

Okay, enough of my ranting. I hope you’ve gained some ideas for yourself. I am so much happier with our new setup! How do you organize your media area? I’d love to hear about it! That’s all for today, friends. Have a fabulous day!

DIY Projects, Home Decor

DIY Gallery Wall Update

Hello there friends! I hope you’re having a wonderful Monday! It’s a three day weekend for me, so you know I’m having a great Monday! This past weekend has been really really awesome. I’ve gotten SO MUCH done, and I’ve been inspired to do several new projects. On Saturday, Ethan and I took the trip down to Magnolia Market (Joanna Gaines, Fixer Upper, fabulous home decor, my idol, you get the point). It’s only about an hour drive for us, but it was the first time we had been since they’ve opened their larger store.

I bought two small items while I was there, and it inspired me to update a little gallery wall we have in the corner of our bedroom. Now, since I had spent all my money at Magnolia Market, I didn’t have any more money to buy anything new. So, I had to get creative.


This is what this little corner of the room looked like before. I made/put together most of these pieces immediately after moving into the house when we got married. Let’s not talk about the multicolored canvas with washi tape all over it. Just, don’t even mention it. Obviously, this isn’t really my style. So when I brought home something new, I knew I needed to update this whole little corner. Here’s how it looks now:


The entire theme is a bit more neutral and monochromatic, which fits in this room SO MUCH BETTER. As you can see, some of the pieces stayed the same, but the overall look is something I’m much happier with. So let’s talk about how I got my creative on without any money.


This is what I purchased from Magnolia Market this weekend (pardon this blurry picture, I don’t really know what was going on). The frame and the wreath came separately, but I attached the wreath with some thin black ribbon to the back of the frame.


The hand lettered sign on the top right was something I whipped up with a Sharpie. Nothing fancy at all. The frame was something I had in storage with something else inside. I had never hung it because I wasn’t a fan of what was previously in the frame, but with a little art swap, I was good to go. I also moved the burlap arrow frame to the other side of the wall and painted the frame from a metallic silver to a matte gray. Just another way to go a bit more neutral.


This piece is the biggest statement on the wall, and my personal favorite. It took Ethan a bit to figure out what “all those numbers mean,” but it’s our anniversary date. I used the same canvas from the first photo, peeled off the washi tape, and painted white over the cringe-worthy painting. I used stencils and a Sharpie to create the numbers, which was so easy anyone could do it! I believe this canvas was originally a picture of Audrey Hepburn I had in my college dorm room. It has now lived many lives! No one will be able to say that I didn’t recycle!

The other pieces from the original wall got trashed, as they had been reused one to many times, with the exception of our wedding photo, which will be relocated. GalleryWall3

This little corner may not look totally different to everyone, but to me, the entire mood has changed now that it’s underwent its little makeover. It look me maybe an hour to update and make the three pieces, and aside from the new mirrored frame, it didn’t cost me anything.

Bringing new life to old gallery walls doesn’t have to be expensive! Look at the pieces you have already, and imagine new ways to rework them. Canvas can always be painted over, frames and always be painted. I’ve been known to hang wrapping paper in frames as cheap art, or free printables found online. Handwritten notes or drawings can also make great (free) additions to gallery walls. If you’re strapped for cash, look around your home and see what you can come up with! You might be surprised at what you find you already have.

What’s your go-to piece for artwork? Have you ever made a gallery wall mistake like I have? I’d love to hear about it! That’s all for today, friends. Have a fabulous day!


Tips on Loving Your Closet

Do you have the perfect vision of what your dream closet is? I know I do. Cue soft playing music and a warm bright spot. My dream closet is ultra feminine, with a full window for natural light, and a vanity for doing makeup. My dream closet is obviously larger than my childhood bedroom. There’s room in there for a soft armchair where I can drink my tea, a freestanding full length mirror for trying on clothing, and perhaps a vintage mannequin. My wedding dress is displayed, and the whole thing is light and airy. Have I even mentioned the perfectly organized rows of clothing and shoes? My collection is expansive, yet impeccably organized just like a magazine. Can you tell I’ve thought about this? Just a little bit.

Raise your hand if you have something pictured in your head similar to what I just described. Yes, I’m talking to you. I know most of us have unrealistic dreams like this and that’s okay!

Cue reality though (we’ll use my closet for an example): my closet is a 2×3  foot box with one awkwardly placed pole (not even tall enough to hang a knee length dress from) and two measly shelves on the top (one of which I can barely reach). Like the rest of our house, it’s the color of a camel’s behind, and a carpet that hasn’t been touched since the 1960’s. Living the rental dream. 

Here’s the deal. It would be so easy for me to be discouraged by the size of my closet, or frustrated that I don’t have things as nice as others. Today I want to share with you some tips I’ve found on how to love the closet you have (that don’t include getting a new closet).

This year, my mission has been to organize everything and purge the excess. The closet was the first place to start! I started off the new year by reading The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up. I am not kidding when I say thing book will change your life! It’s a pretty short book, but I had read the whole thing in a day. I finished feeling energized and ready to tackle my house! There are specific sections of the book designated specifically for clothing, and so I took some of the tips listed there and reorganized my closet. I can now tell you that when I walk over to my little closet, I feel refreshed and calm! And I don’t even have an armchair where I can drink my tea. Can you imagine?


Step One: 

Get rid of everything. I’m not joking. I took every. single. piece. of clothing out of my closet and laid them on my bed. From there I looked at each item one by one and asked myself when the last time I had worn the item was. I had to be harsh with my answers about what to keep and what to get rid of. The things I love but wear infrequently because I’m too lazy to iron – those things went to the donate pile. The things I’ve been meaning to mend but secretly know I won’t get around to – donate. The things that are near duplicates of other items – donate. Because of the awkward height of the bar in this closet, my dresses are hung in Ethan’s closet. So all I have here are my tops (both blouses and sweaters). I wanted to keep only the things I have in my closet are the things I will actually wear on any given day.


Step Two:

Organize by color. One of the things that makes my teeny-tiny-barely-even-there closet bearable now is that the order of things is aesthetically pleasing. I kept my shirts and sweaters separate, each category moving from the darkest on the left to the lightest on the right. There is a whole psychology behind this method that I don’t really understand, but I will say that it does make things look intentionally placed. Each piece has a perfect spot, and the color scheming actually helps me plan my outfits with ease. All my black tops are in the same place, and I know exactly where the hanger is when I’m putting something away.


Step Three:

It’s all about the hangers. This step is definitely not necessary, but I would recommend it. Until this point, I still had the multi-colored plastic hangers I acquired in bulk in college. They were cheap, and I was broke. I’ve wanted to buy coordinating black velvet hangers for a long time, but could never justify the expense. The only reason I bought these is because I had extra Christmas money. Ethan was not really thrilled with the thought of me spending my Christmas money on hangers, but I assured him it’s what I really wanted. He’s the one who married this organizational freak, so he can’t really complain too much. Anyway, I bought two of these packs, and used Bed Bath and Beyond’s 20% off coupon. I will eventually need to get another pack or two to finish Ethan’s closet and the coat closet, but my wallet says it’ll have to wait.


Step Four: 

Tidy up all the non-hanging items. On the top shelf, I have a few pairs of shoes, a handbag filled with other handbags, pants stacked standing straight up, and a basket with scarves and important jewelry boxes. I also have a small hanging shelf unit with a few folded skirts hanging from the rod. Notice how I have extra room on these shelves? Before I purged and organized, I could barely cram anything else in this closet, and finding what I needed was never simple. Now everything has a location, everything has a purpose, and it all looks generally appealing.

I feel like I should mention a few disclaimers. The floor if this closet hosts the majority of my shoes, which aren’t perfectly organized yet. Additionally, this is not the entirety of my wardrobe. My dresses are stored in Ethan’s closet, and coats and special occasion outfits are stored in the coat closet. I also have casual wear that is stored in Ethan and my shared dresser.

My overall point is this: this is no way near the dream closet I described at the beginning of this post. However, it makes me feel refreshed and at ease when I open the door. I will likely never have this fantasy closet, but I’m willing to love the closet that I have now. I know that later in life, I’ll move up in closet. Right now though, I’m learning to love the closet I have. Right now, this is my dream closet. Purged, organized, and accessible. Do you have your dream closet or do you have something you have to learn to love like me? How do you organize? I’d love to hear all about it! That’s all for today, friends. Have a fabulous day!