Collage of Collages

So, if you know me, you know that I love collages.  Therefore, it’s no surprise that a collage of collages really excites me!  I used PicMonkey‘s free service for these.  This is just a nice way to fit a bunch of pictures of family on one wall and not have to buy special collage frames – you can buy whatever frames you want and you aren’t limited in what you do, how many pictures, etc.  It’s really easy – the trickiest part is getting the pixel size just right for whatever frame you are using.  If the size is wrong, you could end up with someone’s head getting cropped off, which is not ideal.  I saved mine as 3300 x 4200 pixels when I did them but I’ve noticed that PicMonkey doesn’t let you go over 3400 pixels now so I’ve read that 2200 x 2800 pixels will also work for 11×14.  You just click on the create collage button and select the type of collage you want, upload your pictures, and play away.  I’m not going to go into those details here b/c I’m sure PicMonkey has better tutorials than any I could do.  Here’s the recommended pixel sizes from the blog site that I found:

3×5 inches:  1500 x 2500 pixels
4×6 inches:  1600 x 2400 pixels
5×7 inches: 1500 x 2100 pixels
8×8  inches: 2000 x 2000 pixels
8×10 inches:  2000 x 2500 pixels
8.5×11 inches:  1700 x 2200 pixels
9×16 inches: 3200 x 1800 pixels
11×14 inches:  2200 x 2800 pixels
11×17 inches:  2200 x 3400pixels


I got these sizes from the Perfectly Rooted Blog.  She has some good suggestions about how to create artwork in PicMonkey which I haven’t done yet.  I’ve only used Picasa for that and PicMonkey for collages.  I love all these free tools though – one day!!!



Chula Fixer Upper 2015

We decided to rent out our house when we moved instead of selling it.  Here are some of the updates we made in order to make it rental-ready:

Here’s the kitchen:


The kitchen didn’t need much work, in my opinion.  Sure, we could’ve updated some things like the countertops and the backsplash to make them even nicer, but we really didn’t think it was necessary at this time and for this market – they are in pretty good shape.

We really wanted to add shelving or cabinets to the one empty wall but we didn’t get around to it this time.

We did need to scrub the grout in the floor tile b/c it had turned really dark.  I did this with an oxyclean/water solution that I sprayed in the grout and allowed it to sit for a few minutes, then scrubbed with a hard toothbrush – worked like a charm.  Note: You should spot test if this will work for your grout before doing it b/c if you have dark grout or the grout hasn’t been sealed in a while it may not be the best idea.

The biggest problem with this kitchen is that there is no pantry.  So, we turned a coat closet that is right next to the kitchen into a pantry, as shown below.  My husband used 3/4 inch sanded plywood, cut to size and 1/2 furring strips on the sides to hold them in place.  We painted them white.  They are all removable so if they would rather have a coat closet, then they can stack all the shelves on the bottom shelf and keep the rod in place (see the brown rod below).

We also got a new 6 panel solid wood door that opens to the left – making it more convenient as a pantry.  The old door opened to the right which wouldn’t have been as convenient since the counter top is to the right.  We chose solid wood in case later we want to add a spice rack or something to the door.


This is the dining room – no updates here – just scrubbed the grout.

Dining Room

This is the living room.  My husband had to replace the carpet.  We chose to go with Allure vinyl plank flooring (not Ultra click and lock but the kind that sticks together) – this is a blonde color.  It’s really easy to install – we’ll see if it holds up. UPDATE: Our first tenant moved out after a year and it looks good as new.  🙂

Living Room

Here’s the hallway.  It was redone with Allure Ultra a while back and has held up really well through 2 rounds of tenants (now 3 rounds of tenants) which is amazing for a high traffic hallway.  We would’ve loved to put Allure Ultra everywhere but it is significantly more expensive than regular Allure Vinyl flooring and a little bit trickier to install since it’s interlocking and the planks are flexible.  The regular Allure vinyl plank is peel and stick (sticks to each other so it’s floating still).  We figure we’ll try it out and see how it holds up.


There is one bathroom off the hallway.  We didn’t do anything to it this time around:

Main floor bathroom

The following 3 pictures are the bedrooms.  We chose to do laminate floors in the bedrooms b/c there was a sale and we wanted to try out a few different types of floors to see which holds up the best.  Ideally, at some point, we will have consistent floors. There’s still carpet in the master bedroom as you can see b/c it wasn’t too badly damaged. UPDATE: this laminate floor held up really well too through one tenant (1 year) – not a scratch or any problem with it.  Woohoo!  I think we are permanently done with carpet.

Bedroom 1
Bedroom 2
Master Bedroom

The basement ended up being quite time consuming.  We needed to replace the carpet b/c it had been badly damaged.  Carpet is probably not the best choice for a basement anyway.  However, we had a dilemma b/c we had a french drain and sump pump put in our basement when we lived there.  For that they had to dig up around the edges of the basement concrete to lay the french drain and then they poured new concrete over it.  For this reason, the basement was no longer level.

The concrete they poured in was not high quality so it wasn’t smooth and it was also higher than the rest of the basement.  We had 2 options, we could pour more concrete in the basement to make it level or we could grind down the edges.  We decided that grinding down the edges would be easier and less expensive.  So, my husband rented a concrete grinder and grinded down the edges to try to make it more even with the rest of the basement.

Then, he laid down some Allure flooring (the color is IronWood – looks blackish gray).  I kind of wish we had chosen Allure Ultra for this b/c it’s waterproof but we didn’t.  If this doesn’t hold up then we will next time.  The ceiling of the basement is a really cool type of drop ceiling that sits flush against the ceiling joists – thereby raising the height of the ceiling.  We made this update when we lived there as well as adding the recessed lighting – makes a big difference to the space.  This space makes a great second living room/kid’s playroom or recreation room.  UPDATE:  this flooring lasted great through one tenant (1 year).  There’s a couple of places near the stairs where the flooring has a little too much gap in between the planks and it catches dirt, etc but other than that it’s still great.

Basement Living Area
Basement Living Area

Basement bathroom.  There had been a leak at one point in the bathroom above this one so the ceiling was not in great shape – instead of patching it, my husband replaced the whole ceiling – looks better than the previous patchwork, for sure.  Other than that, we didn’t have to do anything else here:

Basement Bathroom

Basement Bonus Room with Closet:

Basement Bonus Room With Closet

Basement Bonus Room (potential office):

Basement Bonus Room (Potential Office)

Other than those updates, all rooms had to be repainted and most doors had to be repainted.  I’m the official painter so I took care of that.  There were lots of holes left in the wall so spackle became my best friend during that time.  And I think I’ve basically sanded my fingerprints off so if I ever get in trouble with the law they won’t be able to identify me!  :-p  So, tenants might not want to mess with me..  j/k – of course!

I’ll include the paint colors here in case you are interested.  These are mostly the same paint colors we had when we lived there, except for the living room and bedrooms – I tried to find more neutrals.  It’s hard to find a good neutral though – I know many of you out there will know what I’m talking about!  There are lots of pink beiges and prison or mental facility grays lurking out there waiting to waste your valuable time!  I digress – here’s the colors:

Main Floor Kitchen & Dining Room & one of the bedrooms:  Bell Grove Buff (Lowe’s Valspar brand)

Main Floor Living Room & 2 of the bedrooms: Buffed Tan (Home Depot Behr)

Main Floor Bathroom: Au Lait Ole Lowe’s Valspar brand – don’t recommend this color – quite ugly)

Basement Living Area: Gold 3 (Laura Ashley Home brand LA709 at Lowe’s – they don’t sell it anymore but they will make some for you if you ask them for it.)

Basement Bonus Room with Closet: Promenade (Home Depot Behr brand)

Basement Bonus Room (office): Sandstone Cove (Home Depot Behr brand)

Trim and Doors: Polar Bear (Home Depot Behr brand)


Hanging Wall Files

To organize my girl’s school papers, I spray painted some hanging wall files that I found at Wal-Mart and hung them on the wall with the girl’s names on them.  We get so many papers from school though – I’m not actually sure this is going to be useful.  There’s a trash can located directly below this for when it overflows.  :-/WallFile

Charging Station

With all the electronics in the house, we decided we could use a centrally located charging station to get them all charged at once.  We kept losing power cords and devices, etc.  We figured our office would be the best place to create a charging station.

Our office is right off the kitchen.  It’s really supposed to be a formal dining room, but we figured we didn’t really need 2 dining rooms since we are currently using our breakfast room as a dining room.  My husband’s parents had given us a record player shelving unit when we got married and we figured that would serve this purpose really well.  It has a little pull out shelf.

I found the box at Hobby Lobby and had my husband drill some holes in it (I want to learn how to use his drill, but haven’t taken the initiative yet – one of these days.  He’s tried to show me how to use it once before but I dazed in and out while he was talking and missed half the lesson.  :-/ ).

The cords are held in place – or the reason they don’t slip out is due to binder clips.

Also, at Walmart, we found an extension cord that had 4 USB ports on it, so I taped that to the back of the shelving unit – this allows you to plug in 4 devices at once.  This is a necessity since there is only 1 plug available behind the shelf.

What you will need:

Extension cord with 4 USB ports
Decorative box with separate compartments
Binder clips
Strong tape or I used those command picture hanging strips b/c then it’s removable

Here are some pictures:

ChargingStation3 ChargingStation1 ChargingStation2

Wall Word Art DIY

I love DIY wall art in general!  I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned that already though I’m not overly creative so you’re not going to see anything magazine-worthy here, but I’m happy with the results which is all that matters, right?  :-p  I love that you can choose the colors, the content, etc.

So, there are a few sayings that I really love and I’ve made a frame for each of the girl’s rooms with custom phrases for each of them – tailored to their personalities.  I’ve also made a couple for my dining room.  I used Picasa – it’s free!  Here’s a link to the tutorial I used:

Centsational Girl

I love Centsational Girl’s blog – I could spend hours there on the weekend and sometimes do!  Here’s some pictures of the word art that I’ve made so far:

For my very emotional daughter:


For the daughter that gets a nervous belly ache everyday before school..


Because my one daughter thinks she’s a princess and she is of the one true King.


For the breakfast room, because we need a daily reminder, even before breakfast:

WallArtCommandments WallArtNeighbor

And it kind of looks like a bowl, right?  Or a vase, but whatever…  :-p

Picture Collage

This is just a random collage that ended up being a big pain, but I love the end result.  Did I mention that my obsession isn’t just with magnet board collages, but collages in general?  Yes, love them!

So, what happened was, picture frames were on sale at Michael’s (turns out they always are), so I snatched up a bunch of different sizes in white.

I was all excited to do this collage, but then ended up letting them sit in my office for a little over a year before I decided to do anything with them.  :-/

At that point, I realized that to buy mats for these odd sizes that I bought was going to cost about $44 per frame (double the price of the frames).  WHAT?!?!  And now it was too late to return them.

Well, long story short, we ended up buying a mat cutter for $30 and doing it ourselves.  It was a full day project, but way better than spending $44/frame.

My husband arranged them on the floor a few times and got the layout just right – he’s way better at spacial arrangements than me.  I love what he came up with though.  Figured I’d share for those who want to do a similar collage.  But definitely try to buy frames with standard mat sizes.  Don’t make the same mistake I did!




Spray painting light fixtures!

A friend of mine gave me a genius idea – she spray painted her light fixtures instead of buying new so I had to try it for myself!  

Rather than spend the money on new light fixtures when we had perfectly good ones, we spray painted them!

We just recently changed out all our cabinet hardware to get rid of the brassy gold stuff and so we just needed to update the fixtures since they were also brassy gold.

The can says Oil Rubbed Bronze – that was the color of the spray paint and it was perfect for that bronze look to match our cabinet handles.  I also used this same spray paint to paint the picture frames in the magnet board collage that I posted a couple days ago.

Woohoo!  Looks like new to me!  🙂

Now, the ceiling fan, I did not dare try to paint (though I’m sure it’s possible – just doesn’t seem like it’s worth the effort).  My daughter’s ceiling fan went out in her room so I convinced my frugal husband that we could move the living room ceiling fan into my daughter’s room and get a new (bronze metal) fan for the living room.  It was quite an upgrade since we even got a larger sized fan which is nice for air flow.  Yay for no more brassy gold!



DRFixture SprayPaint KitchenFixture

Another Magnet Board Creation

MagnetBoardDRThese magnet boards are to hold bible verses.  I actually haven’t changed them out since I first hung them but that is the intention in the future:

In case you’re curious, these are the verses (my favorite ones, of course):

1.) Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Philippians 4:8

2.) For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Luke 12:34

3.) Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? Matthew 7:3

4.) Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  Philippians 4:6

I found these magnet clips at Wal-Mart.



Magnet Boards Collage

Magnet Board CollageI’m a tiny bit obsessed with magnet boards.  Here’s a magnet board wall collage I created to keep my kid’s school work organized (using the clips) and also to display notes, weekly menu, etc.

I found these picture frames at Joann’s for $10 each – they were on sale 50% off which they do pretty frequently – just have to wait it out for the deals.  The 2 at the bottom though I could only find online in black so I spray painted them bronze to match the other 2 frames (found bronze spray paint at Home Depot).  I bought a piece of 2′ x 2′ piece of foam insulation board at Home Depot for the center piece.  I found all the fabric at Joann’s fabric – it goes on sale all the time so I waited for the sale.  The hardest part is having the patience to wait for all the sales! :-p  So, the 2 on top are a combination dry-erase/magnet boards and the one in the middle is a pin board.  The 2 on the bottom are just magnet boards (no glass on front for dry erase).  When you put the glass on front, the magnetic part is not as strong so you can only hang light stuff like pictures and cards.  I took the glass off the bottom ones so that they could hold some heavier school papers, artwork, etc.  Also, I hung these as I hang everything these days using Command Picture Hanging Strips – they are a life-saver – I no longer have to wait for my husband to hang things.  Those suckers work really well and don’t leave big ugly holes in your wall – woohoo – win win!

To make these:
1.) Prepare the sheet metal: Get some sheet metal at Home Depot in the plumbing/duct work area (about $9/sheet).  You will have to cut these to size with metal cutting scissors (sheet metal shears – you can get these at Home Depot also).
2.) Prepare the fabric: You will need to cut out the fabric to size – leave about an inch extra on each side to fold over and lay it out pattern side down on a flat floor – make it as smooth as possible.  Be sure to iron the fabric if it’s wrinkled.
3.) Stick the fabric: You will need to spray the adhesive glue onto the sheet metal and place it on the laid out fabric.  Then spray the back edges of the sheet metal and gently pull the fabric on each side and stick it to the metal.  Tada!  Now, just place the fabric covered metal back in the picture frame and there it is!  For the foam board, you just spray the board with the adhesive and stick it to the fabric the same way you did the sheet metal.  You might need to smooth it out a little bit more – it seems to get crinkled a little easier – so I flipped it over and got all the crinks out before folding the edges over.  Note: More recently I have done without the gluing for the dry erase magnet boards since the glass holds it in fine and this way I could switch out the fabrics if I wanted to, but you have to make sure you iron especially well b/c wrinkles will show.
4.) Make the magnets and pins: To make the magnets, I just walked around Joann’s craft section and found some cute felt things and necklace charms, etc that matched the decor then I hot glued some super strong magnets to them (also found these magnets at Joann’s).  To make the pins, I did the same – just hot glued the cute things to the pins.  I love these – I went bezerk and made some for my girls’ rooms and for our dining room – I’ll have to post those as well!  :-p

Things you will need to purchase from the store:
Cute things to put on magnets and pins
Spray adhesive
Picture frames
Super strong magnets (I think they are actually called that)
glue gun and glue sticks

Walmart or wherever:
Gloves (for cutting the sheet metal – it is sharp! I just used my leather ones I wear in winter)

Home Depot:
Metal cutting shears (tin snips)
Sheet metal (make sure you don’t buy aluminum – bring a magnet and make sure it sticks before you buy)
Magnet clips (found these in the check out aisle) also Walmart and Target has some too.
Piece of foam insulation board for pin board (Found this in the insulation aisle at Home Depot – literally, in a box in the middle of the aisle).  It’s the perfect size 2′ x 2′ so I didn’t have to cut it or anything.





Here’s a pic where I didn’t glue the fabric down:


Final Product:

Magnet Board Collage