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Monday, April 8, 2019

Decorate Your Home With Free Easter Printables

Easter is more than egg hunts, bunnies, and baskets of candy.  Easter is a time to celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.  Because of His resurrection, we can be with our loved ones again.  Death is not the end.  What an amazing gift our Heavenly Father has given us.  My kids are old enough to remember both of their great grandmothers passing away.  And while that makes them sad, they are happy to know they will see them again.  

We celebrate Easter by spending time with family and sharing.  Easter activities such as egg hunts, Easter baskets from the Easter Bunny and decorating our homes are also part of the fun.  

Today, I have some free printables to help with the home decor part of things.  Since Easter is a spring season holiday, you don’t have to look too far when searching for inspiration for decoration, especially if you want to keep things cheap like me. It's amazing what you can make from colorful flowers and green leaves and how you can turn your home into a joyful and cozy Easter setting.

There are many online tutorials (thanks Pinterest) on how to make these crafts, but that’s not all. If you really want to make your celebration memorable, you should try out some additional resources like this set of fun and free Easter printables.

If your family and guests have an eye for details, then these cute stickers will certainly catch their attention. You can apply them as egg tags, use them for decorating egg holders or egg baskets.  Also, these stickers are perfect for making interesting clues for egg hunt activities or invitations for your Easter dinner.

As an addition, you can use pencils in different colors and various washi tapes to make unique egg and dinner table decorations.

All you need to do to turn these freebies into stickers is download the pdf version and print it on a self-adhesive paper. With a pair of scissors and a little bit of imagination, you can turn this decoration process into some quality family time.

If you are looking for more Easter Activities be sure to check out my ideas for:

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Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Caulk for a Smooth Finish

The other day I did a little project that makes a big difference in how 'finished' a room looks.  The caulk between the baseboard and shoe molding in our laundry room was cracking and separating.  It didn't look pretty.  Luckily we had some caulk on hand from a recent home repair, so I quickly fixed it.  

The picture below shows how the shoe molding is separating from the baseboard.  

Here's a better view so you can really see how the caulk is split and dust is getting trapped in there.  That was after I vacuumed it.  

Before I caulked, I made sure to prep the area by not only vacuuming up any dust but also wiping the baseboard and molding to get rid of any more dust and dirt hiding in there.  

After applying the caulk at a 45° angle, I used a wet finger to smooth it in.

In the photo above you can see to the right of my hand, the caulk that has been smoothed compared to the freshly laid caulk on the left.

And here's another close up.  A much more polished look.  

What a difference. 

I didn't want to stop there.  I checked the bathrooms and did some more caulking.  The kids bathroom looked like the shoe molding was never caulked to the baseboard.  So I caulked that too.

I'm on a roll.  Maybe I'll get some other little projects done soon too.  The little projects are the best since they don't take up too much time.  But those are also the ones I tend to procrastinate on.  Anyone else getting spring fever and starting some spring cleaning / home repair?

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Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Updating Kitchen Cabinets

Last month the kids had a week off of school for winter break.   My husband still had to work, but the kids and I spent the week visiting my parents and sister in MD.  Not only was it fun to spend time with family, but I got to do a couple of DIY projects.  

My parents likes to keep their house updated and my mom usually has a project done every year.  Some years it's an easy/inexpensive update such as repainting a few rooms, and other years the updates are more intense like when they had their master bathroom remodeled.  

For the past few years, she has been debating on updating the kitchen.  Should have the cabinets painted white or get new cabinets?  Then what about the counters, and appliances?  It could be quite a costly update.  So in the meantime, I suggested we update the look by changing out the kitchen cabinet hardware.  

Here is what she started with.  We didn't take a close up of the knobs but even from this picture you can tell they are outdated.  The knobs she had before were from the early 90's and no longer matched the paint and tile in the kitchen.  They are brass knobs with ceramic centers that have county blue flowers on them.  The country blue phase has passed and since her kitchen walls are no longer blue these things stuck out like a sore thumb.  

The new knobs are bronze with copper highlights and work great with the other dark brown accents in the area such as the bronze pendant light above the kitchen sink and the dark brown in the tile back splash.  If you want to use these same knobs for an easy update in your home, here's the amazon affiliate link to them:  HERE and HERE.

Changing out the knobs was also a great time to finally give those kitchen cabinets a good scrub down.  The finished result is a more modern look for very little cost.  And if she wants to have the cabinets painted or buy new cabinets altogether, the knobs can be reused.  

Sometimes it's totally worth it do to a project in phases.  While you save up for the full remodel or are still unsure as to what you want, a "phase 1" project can tide you over.  Plus it looks good in the meantime.  

John and Sherry Petersik from YOUNG HOUSE LOVE explain more about "phase 1" projects in there post:

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Thursday, January 24, 2019

Basement Stairs Makeover

Last April my husband took a new job that required us to relocate.  We weren't planning to move so we had a lot of work to do before listing our house for sale.  After living in a house for 12 years with 4 kids, there were plenty of small maintenance projects we never got around to doing that all of a sudden we had to do.  And then there was the basement.  Ever since we moved into that house we talked about finishing it.  I had big plans for it and even picked out a color scheme.  Well, that was another thing we never got around to finishing.  We did start.  We had the studs up and the electric was done, it was even insulated.  But that is where we stopped.  So now, we had to finish it before selling the house.  If we were going to continue living there, we would have put down carpet, but since we needed it done fast and as inexpensive as possible, we decided to paint the basement floors.  I thought we would do something like THIS, but to save time we just ended up painting the floors a single shade of brown.  With area rugs on top, it didn't look half bad.  But I digress.  Back to the issue of the stairs.  Since the idea of carpeting the stairs was out, and I thought just painting the stairs looked a bit cheap, I headed over to Pinterest for some ideas.  It didn't take me long to realize what I wanted to do.  And it looked so upscale, not like we were being cheap at all. 

Here is what we started with.  Plain, unfinished wood stairs.  

The first thing I did was to tape off the stair treads and then stain them.  I made sure to skip some so I could still walk up and down the stairs.

I chose this dark brown stain because I wanted it to match the dark brown wood floors in the foyer leading to the basement steps.  I was hoping it would all blend in and it did.

I started at the top and worked my way down, leaving every 3rd step unstained so I would be able to walk back up.  In the picture below you can see two steps that are taped off so we don't walk on them.  They are two I didn't stain with the rest so that we could still walk up and down the stairs.  After staining them I put a clear coat of polyurethane on them so they'd be nice and durable.  The ones that are taped off still have wet poly on them since they were done last.  Oh, and I also stained the handrail.  

After all the steps were dry, I taped them off so I could paint the risers.  Before painting the risers, I filled in any nail holes with some wood putty.

I thought going from the unfinished wood to a rich stain made such a difference, but painting the risers white made an even more dramatic difference.  I loved it!

Another thing  we did which isn't shown was to add trim to the top of the risers on the sides to give it a more finished look.  I also caulked the seams from the sides of the risers to the molding so it looked more professional.  I didn't take pictures of that but you can see in the 'pre-caulk' photos, that there is a little gap on the sides.

Our stairs turned part way down so we had this landing.  It was particle board so we put some thin veneer wood on top and stained that to match too.  I forgot to take pictures of that, so just use your imagination.  

Here is the before and after shot.

I totally love it and would consider doing this to a house I planned to stay in.  I really like the stained stair look, and it was pretty quick and easy to do.  It took several days just because of drying time but it only took about few hours total to complete the project.

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