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My Little House Design: February 2013

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Pinterest Challenge: Fabric Wrapped Picture Frame

I've been actively blogging for over six months now so I think it is about time that I join a link party. If you don't know what a link party is it's pretty simple: Four or five 'big' bloggers pose a challenge or theme and then at a specific date and time everyone can link up their posts that relate to the subject. It is a really fun way to find new blogs and see cool projects. The link party I decided to try out is...

Being that is one of the few blogs I read regularly it is apropos that I would join younghouselove.com's Winter Pinterest Challenge. You can read all the rules here but it's basically a 'stop pinning and start doing' challenge. Considering I've had Pinterest for well over a year and I've pinned exactly 2,390 things up to this very minute I could use the push to actually do some of the stuff I pin.

Trying to comb through 2,390 pins to find the one that I actually wanted to do this weekend was maybe the hardest part of the challenge. In order to not go insane I made myself some rules to help limit my choices 1) It had to be free and 2) It couldn't take more than two hours. My weekend was pretty busy and I just put in new cork floors in the kitchen so I'm not looking to spend tons of money on another project right now. The rules helped and I landed on this: 

Yeah, it's not the most inspiring image I've ever pinned and the fabric is ugly and it's cut with plinking shears which is not my thing but it got me thinking... I have a lot of scrap fabric and I'm obviously obsessed with framed art so why not mix the two together? 

Plus the gallery wall in my living room hasn't been updated (or dusted or leveled) in some time so I figured it would be nice way to add some new life to the gallery. 

mylittlehousedesign.com DIY Fabric Wrapped Picture Frames

After looking at all my frames I decided to wrap the two brown frames at the bottom of the image. The main reason is because of this: 

mylittlehousedesign.com DIY Fabric Wrapped Picture Frames

Whatever the price tag was stuck on with is resistant to GooGone, vinegar and baking soda, and a lot of swearing because it would NOT come off. I finally just gave up and hung them on the wall but it's been bugging me for a year so I figured they were the perfect frames to cover in fabric.

I have a lot of random fabric I've collected over the years (if you squint you can see it all piled up in the picture above), but I ultimately decided to go with the subtle chevron pattern that I used just a few weeks ago to cover the lampshades in the second bedroom (here).  I literally didn't even look at the tutorial for this project because how hard can it be to wrap fabric around a picture frame? I probably should have read the tutorial but I sort of forgot. I just started cutting random strips of fabric and started wrapping. 

I figured out pretty quickly I needed glue or something to keep the fabric in place so I got out my low-temp hot glue gun. I didn't glue every piece just the end of the strip and then at all the corners. 

mylittlehousedesign.com DIY Fabric Wrapped Picture Frames

If there is one thing blogging has taught me it's that I really need a third hand. It's really hard to take pictures and do crafts! So here is a sort of unhelpful picture of me wrapping fabric around a picture frame.

As you can probably imagine the corners posed the biggest challenge. I attempted a few different techniques but found that the best way is to wrap the fabric so that the middle of the strip lands at the corner of the frame like this: 

mylittlehousedesign.com DIY Fabric Wrapped Picture Frames

And then fold down the wings and glue them on the back. 

mylittlehousedesign.com DIY Fabric Wrapped Picture Frames

mylittlehousedesign.com DIY Fabric Wrapped Picture Frames

That may or may not makes sense but that's the best I've got. 

When it was all wrapped and glued I stepped back to take a look at it and...

mylittlehousedesign.com DIY Fabric Wrapped Picture Frames

All I could see were these little threads sticking up everywhere so after a lot of little snips I got a much cleaner looking finished product. 

mylittlehousedesign.com DIY Fabric Wrapped Picture Frames

 Not too bad! The next issue though was the little pieces that secure the back of the picture frame. They were all covered in fabric but after a little hunting I located all of them. Most of them were hiding like this:

mylittlehousedesign.com DIY Fabric Wrapped Picture Frames

But with a little snip of the scissor I freed them so they could securely hold the frame backing on. 

mylittlehousedesign.com DIY Fabric Wrapped Picture Frames

It was definitely a tight fit getting the glass and frame backing in. I took out the extra thick cardboard piece that a lot of frames have and that help free up some space. The fabric I used is 100% cotton and was thankfully pretty thin so as a caution don't try this with anything thicker than that, it will be too hard to get the glass + picture + frame backing to all fit together under the tabs. 

Overall, this was a very simple project that only took me about an hour to do.

mylittlehousedesign.com DIY Fabric Wrapped Picture Frames


- One yard of thin fabric (I used about four 3" wide strips per frame) 
- Hot glue gun
- Picture frame
- Good music

I also did the second frame the same way. They are sort of messy and weird and not my style and trendy and tribal and strange and I think I like them. 

mylittlehousedesign.com DIY Fabric Wrapped Picture Frames

mylittlehousedesign.com DIY Fabric Wrapped Picture Frames

mylittlehousedesign.com DIY Fabric Wrapped Picture Frames

mylittlehousedesign.com DIY Fabric Wrapped Picture Frames

mylittlehousedesign.com DIY Fabric Wrapped Picture Frames
I'm so cool I wear sunglasses in every picture. 

mylittlehousedesign.com DIY Fabric Wrapped Picture Frames
Holla butterbeer at Harry Potter World in 105 degree heat!

mylittlehousedesign.com DIY Fabric Wrapped Picture Frames

For a zero dollar project I think I really like them! It is a much cheaper alternative to buying a trendy chevron frame (like this one), but they also look homemade so it's a toss up. If you have more time I think it would look better to ModPodge the fabric on the frame to give it a more streamlined look. The way I did it makes them look almost ruffly which is not my style but maybe it's yours. 

The bottom line is this: It was free and I think it looks pretty good. 

Do you think fabric wrapped frames is a good alternative to buying trendy patterned frames? 

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Monday, February 25, 2013

A Green Glass Head

I've wanted this recycled glass head from Pier 1 for about a year (just looked it up, I pinned it 44 weeks ago). For only $19.95 I should have just bought it a long time ago but you know, $20 adds up so I never jumped on it. Thankfully, all things work out for the good of those who wait (that is the epitome of bad paraphrasing and contextual abuse but... I do what I want) because I just got it as a gift last week. Yay! 

Pretty much everything looks good on these shelves so she is there for now, but I'm sure she'll move around. She was made in Spain and she's green and I love her.

That is all.

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Friday, February 22, 2013

How to Install Floating Cork Floors (Or How to Watch Someone Do That)

Like the parenthetical subtitle suggests, this is not much of a tutorial. I love blogs that go into crazy detail like YHL and Bower Power, but I am not like that. My posts tend to be on the long side, but being detailed is not a strong point for me. So this is a tutorial in the vaguest sense (now I know you're super excited to read it). Also, I apologize in advance for the poor picture quality. We did this mostly at night and I am easily distracted so I didn't remember to take pictures very often. If you want a good tutorial the ones we used are here, here, and here.

Steps to Install a Cork Floor:

1) Hire someone.

The end. Haha just kidding. But no seriously I did hire someone because I had no intention of doing this project on my own. I really wish I was handy enough to do this sort of project but that is currently way beyond my skill set and my tool supply (my fanciest tool is a hand-me-down power drill). So I hired my awesome friend* who has helped me with so many other projects at this house (bathroom tile, medicine cabinet, fence repair, shelf hanging, etc.). Because I am interested in learning how to do this sort of stuff he let me hang around and help him. Turns out I was not helpful at all but it was nice that he let me try.

2) Prep the floor.

Since the linoleum in my kitchen was relatively intact we decided to just leave it down and install the new flooring on top of it. Our first step was to pull up the toe kick around the border of the room.

Like I said the linoleum was mostly intact but around the edge it was pulling up a little so we (I say 'we' but let's be honest I had no idea what I was doing so it was mostly 'he') decided to used a blade to cut the part that was curling up off. 

Despite the bad picture quality you can hopefully see how the linoleum is curling up around the edges in the picture above. He used a blade to trim the raised part off and since linoleum is so thin we were left with a fairly smooth transition.

We also pulled up the thresholds to the basement and back door and the transition into the dining room. We also went around and checked for any missed nails (if we couldn't get them out we hammered them down so the floor was smooth). After cleaning up the debris and sweeping we were on to the next step. 

3) Underlayment. 

The next step was pretty easy and I was still able to help at this point. Because the type of cork I chose is 'floating' meaning it isn't glued or nailed down, the underlayment was very important. I did my research and found that the best one for this type of flooring is the Eco Silent Sound HD Underlayment (someone had a little too much fun naming this product). It was pretty straightforward to lay it down. 

Like I said, not good pictures, but that is what the underlayment looked like after it was all put down. We used a combination of this double sided tape and a staple gun to attach it to the floor. 

Side note: this is what my dining room looked like for a week...

It actually wasn't so bad because my dining room is abnormally big. I sort felt like I was in a ship's kitchen which was cool because who hasn't dreamed about living on a ship? I think I would like living on a ship if I didn't get so crazy sea sick... ah well, in another life maybe. 

4) Install Cork Flooring. 

I chose Lisbon Cork in Rossio from Lumber Liquidators and after a quick look at the instructions we got right into it. 

At this point I became extremely unhelpful. I was basically just leering in the corner offering very unhelpful advice. The main problem we ran into, which I did not take a picture of, is that the tongue and groove where the pieces connect was very fragile and one bad tap and the tongue would crack and then not lay properly. But we he figured it out after a few attempts. This flooring kit was really helpful as was this video. 

5) Finishing touches. 

I didn't even attempt to help at this point because it involved a lot of measuring and sawing but if you want to know how to install a toe kick... uh, Google it. 

Before the toe kick (that black thing is a spacer)

After the toe kick - it makes such a big difference! I didn't even have to repaint which was very nice. 

Another shot before: 

And after:

6) Enjoy your beautiful floor!

I guess I should have at least wiped up the floor before I took pictures, ignore the puppy paw prints...

This floor is Bob approved.  

Though I've only lived with this floor for about two weeks I am 100% happy with it. I highly recommend it! It feels great on my feet and it's easy to wipe clean when necessary. I was initially nervous about getting water on it but I don't really worry about that any more because it hasn't been a problem. Mostly I'm just happy that the beautiful floor further distracts people from noticing the boring countertop and backsplash. 

*It bears repeating... this project was managed and executed by Osborn & Stillman. Specializing in custom furniture, Osborn & Stillman also do built-ins, flooring, countertops, and pretty much anything "wood" you can imagine. Being that they are good friends of mine I heartily recommend that you contact them for any home projects you have in mind. They also did my bathroom tile and medicine cabinet which I'm still in love with. Seriously, check out their website, it'll make you want to burn all of your IKEA furniture. 

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Wednesday, February 20, 2013

The State of the House: One Year Edition

Well, it has been one year (and five weeks) since I moved in to my little house and I have to say, best mistake ever! Why mistake? Honestly, I was not financially prepared to buy a house, but I really wanted one so I did it anyway. There is a saying that goes something like, "Bad decisions make for good stories" and that is literally the story of this blog. I wrote more about my decision to buy over continuing to rent for twentysomethingindy.com. You should check out my article and the rest of the site because it's awesome.

The point is I wasn't completely ready to become a homeowner, but I love this house and in my mind that equals so far so good! I simultaneously feel like I've been here forever and for a month, but it's actually been 13 months. Let's take a look back on all the progress I've made (with the help of friends, family, and hired hands), shall we? Also, bad before pictures because I wasn't a blogger then and for some reason didn't think to take any 'before' pictures, ah well, live and learn.

What I accomplished this year on the outside:
- I had the exterior painted
- While it isn't seen and nobody would notice, the biggest, most expensive thing I had done to this house was a major electrical repair before I moved in. I hate spending money on stuff that isn't seen and appreciated but I guess not dying in a house fire is good too. 
- The backyard fence was repaired (not pictured) 
- I added patio chairs to the front porch (a minor improvement over just plain empty)
- While not a large accomplishment I managed to mow the grass several times... go me!

On the agenda for the coming year and beyond:
- Screen in the front porch (it is already framed and ready)
- Add a daybed or some other type of furniture to make the porch more welcoming
- Dig out and replace those large ugly bushes in front (forsythia is the dream)
- Potentially replace the sidewalk up to my porch

What I accomplished in the living room this year:
- Painted it 'Suede Gray' by Behr
- Added a gallery wall, furniture, art, etc. 
- One thing I managed to 'un-accomplish' was that I broke two of the blinds. Lame. They are those $4 ones from Walmart but I refuse to buy them because they are ugly.
- Added a faux sofa table (here)

On the agenda for this year:
- Buy new blinds! Seriously, it is about time. Those blinds are hideous, but I can't seem to jump on a blind style (more about my indecision here). 
- Get a second couch. I want to get the same couch I already have and put it where the red chair is now. 
- Mount the TV. I got a mount and haven't taken the time to hang it yet. 
- Add art around the TV? 
- I'd like a bigger rug, different coffee table and side tables, a real sofa table instead of a faux one, etc. but I'll just have to see how much my budget can handle this year.
- Rearrange gallery wall, change out pictures, etc. 

What I accomplished this year in the bathroom:
- Installed new medicine cabinet
- Painted the room three times (ugh) and it ended up 'Ballet White' by Behr (more on that here). 
- Hung art, towel rack and hook, crates, and a second shower curtain (more on that here). 
- Installed new faucet.

On the agenda this year:
- I'm thinking about painting again, I know, I know, but seriously wouldn't it look beautiful navy blue? I asked my friend that and she said, "isn't every room in your house dark blue?" Touche´. 
- Re-grout the tub and shower. It's gross and a good re-grouting is loooong overdue.
- Change the light fixture. I am really good at cropping out things I don't like so it isn't pictured here but the current one looks something like this and it's fine, but I really want to get something else so hopefully this will be the year. 

What I accomplished this year:
- Painted it twice and it ended up 'Canon' by Ace Hardware (side note: I love the black walls, way more than even I though I would).
- Added art and open shelving.
- Added a chalkboard wall.
- Installed cork floors! (toe kick is not present in these pictures, but it is in now- I need to take pictures again).
- Installed new faux wood white blinds to the windows and the door.
- Installed new light fixture.

On the agenda for this year and beyond:
- New countertops and backsplash (so excited for this!)
- Possibly replace the light? It hangs at about 6'1" and whenever my 6'2" brother comes over he complains about it so maybe I'll lift it up or just change it completely.
- I'd love to add a ceiling light by the chalkboard wall. It is super dark back there at night (and not just because of the black paint, it has always been dark back there). Not sure how much that would cost but it's on my brain.
- I've been thinking about added roman shades or something else to the windows. 

What I accomplished this year:
- Painted it 'Underwater' by Behr.
- Added curtain rod and curtains (here)
- Installed new light fixture
- Added gallery wall
- Added postcard wall art (here)
- Recovered dining room chairs (here)

What I hope to do this year:
- First and foremost I want to get my dream bookcase (here). The wall to the right is blank and sad and I want to change that as soon as possible. 
- I've been thinking about repainting, ugh I know, what is wrong with me? I'm obsessed with painting! But no seriously, I like this color, it's just... I can't put my finger on why I'm tired of it. 
- Re-do or do something completely different with the corner gallery wall, it looks messy and it's a little too much with the postcard wall art (and I really like the postcard wall art).
- Touch up the paint around the light fixture's canopy. I've been meaning to do this for a year, maybe writing it down will make me do it.
- Replace the buffet. It is an IKEA clearance piece that I got for like $40 and I want to replace it with something more solid. 

What I did this year:
- After living with an off-white paint color for six months, I decided I am not a white room kind of person so I went bold and blue by color matching Sherman Williams' 'Loyal Blue' (more on that decision here). 
- Furnished it mostly via craigslist (campaign dresser, jenny lind bed) and IKEA (Rast dresser, Billy bookcase, Knappa light fixture). 
- Hung a light fixture on my own! (here)

What I should accomplish this year:
- I'm really dreading it but the floors seriously need refinished. When I first moved in the bedrooms were carpeted (see the before picture) but since I really hate carpet I ripped it up. The hardwood floors are original to the house and actually look pretty good but in this room they sprayed the trim and since they were planning on putting carpet down they didn't worry about getting white paint on the floors. See the right of the picture above? How the paint comes out about 2-3 inches from the trim? Not cool people who painted the trim, not cool. I may actually tackle this project on my own but we'll see how brave I get.
- I'd love to add curtains or roman shades to this room. The white vinyl blinds in there are fine, but I think an upgrade would be nice.
- If I get my dream bookcase this year I will be moving all the books from this bookcase into that one (plus my books from storage) and then selling this one. I really like this bookcase, but if I have my dream bookcase I really won't need this one. If all that happens I'd like to get a parson's desk for that spot to create a sort of in-room office space. 

What I did this year:
- After being used as a storage unit for 12 months I finally cleared this room out which was a big weekend project.
- I left my daybed, rug, and old dresser in there.
- I craigslisted a desk and bought a chair and lamp set at a used furniture store. (here)
- I painted this room with the left over paint from the kitchen's first paint job, 'Suede Gray' by Behr. (here)
- I DIYed fabric lampshades. (here)
- Added a little bit of art that I already had. (here)
- Cleaning should definitely get it's own bullet point because I did a lot of that in this room.

What should get done this year*:
*My student has only been here two weeks so I haven't decided if I'll keep hosting someone but for now she's there and I won't be doing any projects in this room, but if I don't keep hosting... 
- The hardwood floors in this room also need refinished, although they aren't as bad as my room since the trim in here didn't get painted. 
- Change out the basic light fixture for something a little more fun. 
- Add curtains or different blinds.
- Repaint it a more exciting color. 

Not too bad for 13 months! I'm happy with the progress I'm making. Most of the projects I did this year were lower cost things like painting, getting used furniture from craigslist, and making my own art. I tried to space out the expensive projects (Jan '12- electrical repair, June '2 - bathroom tile, July '12- exterior paint, Feb '13- kitchen floor) and since I did four major projects in 13 months that averages out to about one project every three months. If I continue on that path this year, I hope to do the kitchen countertops, screen in the front porch, refinish the bedroom floors, and upgrade the landscaping in the front - but we'll see what actually gets done!  

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