Keep a rug from slipping

I splurged and bought a fabulous rug for my kitchen.  I drooled over all the Dash & Albert rugs and then just caved.  Since my kitchen remodel turned out to be pretty inexpensive, I figured it all worked out.  The only problem was that every time I walked over it, it slid across the tile floor– not good.  Especially in a kitchen.

What you’ll need:

  • Rug pad
  • Double stick carpet tape

What to do:

1. Flip the rug over.

2. Lay the pad over the back.  Ideally you’d have 1-2″ between the edge of the rug and the pad, but my rug is a weird size, so I couldn’t find a rug pad in the right size.  So I improvised.

3. Lay the tape down on the pad.

4. Peel off the other side of the carpet tape backing.

5. Adhere to the back of the rug.  Since my rug pad wasn’t quite big enough, I cut some stripes to go around the border too.

Seriously, one of the easiest projects I’ve done so far.  And best of all, no movement at all since then.  No dramatic “after” picture, but it was well worth the effort.

Do you have any slipping rugs around your house you’ve yet to tackle?


DIY Spice Rack

After finishing my kitchen remodel and cleaning/organizing my kitchen cabinets, I was left with the most frustrating cabinet of them all.  The spice cupboard.  Regardless of how I arranged things, I could never find the spice I needed.  In fact, during this project I realized that I had at least 6 doubles and 3 containers of cinnamon!  Something had to be done.  Here is what I started with:

I looked online, I looked in stores, and then I got really frustrated.  Most of the spice racks are meant for 12″ (or bigger) cupboards– and if that’s your situation, you’re in luck, there are lots of options out there for you.  But, if you’re like me and have only 10″, then your options are basically non-existent.

So, like any good DIY person, I devised a system that I could build and that would suit my needs.

Here’s what I used:

  • Wood (I think they’re 2×2’s, which means they’re really 1.5×1.5’s)
  • Wood glue
  • Primer (because I used scrap wood)
  • Paint (because I used scrap wood)
  • Saw

And here’s what I did:

1. I measured the width and height of the cabinet (10″ wide and about 10″ high)

2. I used my measurements to figure out how many “2×2″ boards I could stack (1.5+1.5+1.5+1.5+ spice container = little less than 10”)

3. I cut my 2×2’s 10″ long (I used 10, 10″ 2×2’s for this.  4, 3, 2, 1)

4. I lightly sanded my 2×2’s to get rid of really sharp edges or really rough spots– nothing more than 150 grit sandpaper.

5. I then realized that my 2×2’s were not quite wide enough for my spice containers!

So, because I didn’t want to spend any money on this project, I raided my wood pile and found a 1×12″ board and measured the height of my stack of 4, stack of 3, stack of 2, and 1 and then cut corresponding 1×12″ pieces.  Like this:

6. I glued the 2×2 blocks together (4, 3, 2, 1)

7. I glued the 1×12 pieces to the corresponding blocks.

8. I did NOT glue block stacks together!  If I had done this, I wouldn’t have been able to maneuver the blocks into the cabinet (tight space!), so I left them separate and just placed them in the cabinet separate.

9. I primed the stacks.

10. Painted the stacks.

11.  Places the stacks in the cabinet and filled them up.

It’s such an improvement over what I had!  It’s not perfect looking, but now I can see what I have (or what I need) without having to dig through and look at every single container!  And the best part was that I had all the supplies at home, so it was FREE!

How do you organize your spice rack?  Did you DIY something?  I’d love to know.

I’m linking up with A Thoughtful Place’s Oranizing Link Party HERE.

Total Kitchen Makeover $550

When I was looking to purchase this house, I loved the fact that it had such a big kitchen– in fact, (and this might be the only time you’ll ever hear this) it almost had too much counter space.  It was also a pretty bland, builders-grade kitchen, but it had excellent bones, so I knew I could make it exactly what I wanted with a little hard work.

Here is what I started with: Solid oak cabinets, a marbled-salmon colored laminate counter (not shown: an equally ugly 4″ lamnite “backsplash” piece including metal quarter round at the top and bottom– that’s why you see the ugly yellow strip at the edge of the counter).  As it was, its color scheme was decided: salmon-y pink/warm brown/etc.  And that just wasn’t working me for.

So I got to work (about a year and a half after I moved in!)  My first project was the tile backsplash.  You can read all about that process HERE.  It wasn’t too difficult (with a wet saw), but was incredibly time consuming.  I spent 10 hours on a Saturday and almost didn’t have the strength to grout it the next afternoon.  It looks absolutely beautiful though– the pictures don’t do it justice.  And like other shiny-tile-owning people can attest, it almost sparkles at night when the lights are off.  That’s just a bonus!  After sealing it, it should be really easy to clean AND beautiful to look at.  LOVE.

The cost of the tile project was $182

Then I went a little crazy and decided to paint my counters to look like granite.  You can read all about that project HERE.  Among all the projects I’ve ever undertaken at my house, THIS felt wrong.  Painting my counters just felt wrong.  Amazingly though, it turned out awesome.  I’ve had lots of people come over to see them and everyone is amazed at how good they look.  They’ve been painted for a month now, which means they should have totally cured.  No problems with peeling, or water, or scratches, or whatnot so far.

The cost of the counter project was $140 (and it was super easy– a project that can easily be done in a weekend)

And then I painted my kitchen cabinets white.  I’ve wanted to have white cabinets since, well, forever I think.  My parents had honey-oak colored cabinets (without hardware) growing up and they were just never my thing.  I knew I would paint them, but the tutorial on how YHL painted theirs really inspired me to get going.  So I did.  And two weeks later I had these beauties.  You can read all about that journey HERE.  This was easily the hardest part of the kitchen– not because painting is hard, but because it’s a looooong process to paint cabinets, and I had LOTS of them to paint!

The cost of the cabinets was $228

I set a preliminary budget to finish my kitchen with under $600, and I totally came in under budget!  My total kitchen makeover only cost $550!!

I absolutely LOVE the transformation– it looks (and feels) like a completely different room!  Now I just need to learn how to cook– and with a beautiful new kitchen, that should be easy, right?

What kind of projects have you been up to lately?  I’d LOVE to hear from you!

I’m linking up toThrifty Decor Chick’s Show Us Your House party today.  Check it out!

Painting Kitchen Cabinets

I’m echoing YHL’s droopy but spirited happy dance following cabinet-painting completion.  This project now tops my “most time-consuming” project ever.  Blowing my reupholstered wingback chair project right out of the water.  But it was COMPLETELY worth all the time and energy it took.  My kitchen looks totally different now– in an amazingly awesome kind of way.

Oh, and I fully understand why it seems to cost an arm and a leg to pay someone else to paint cabinets for you– it’s not for the feint of heart, or for someone who struggles to finish projects.

Here’s what I needed:

  • Sandwich baggies – FREE
  • Phillips Screwdriver – FREE
  • Electric Drill – FREE
  • TSP – FREE (a good thing to own)
  • Palm Sander – FREE, purchased for my farmhouse table build, but only about $30 to buy
  • 120 or 150 grit Sandpaper – $3.97
  • Primer* – $48 (Benjamin Moore Advance Primer)
  • Paint – $48 (Benjamin Moore Advance paint, Satin sheen, color: Distant Gray)
  • Quality paint brush – FREE (I used a 1″ Purdy brush.  I like 1″ better than 2″ personally, but a 2″ brush is usually recommended)
  • Paint tray – FREE
  • Small roller – FREE, purchased for my newly-painted front door
  • Roller pads** – $7  (Microfiber)
  • Bumper guards for cabinet doors – $4
  • Install guide for hardware – $7
  • Hardware – $110.46 (purchased on eBay $95.40 & the two long ones at Lowes $15.06)

TOTAL $228.43

* I was incredibly disappointed with the primer I purchased.  I couldn’t find the Zinsser Smart Prime in any stores near me, so I opted to go with the more-expensive primer that shared the same name as my paint.  Learn from me– use a Zinsser primer.  I had stain bleed-through and ended up (after my second coat of top coat), using a Zinsser primer that I had in my shed to spot treat certain spots and then putting a third coat of top coat on top of that.  Save time– use the right primer.

** These roller pads were recommended to me by my Benjamin Moore paint guy.  I hated them.  Perhaps it was just because my cabinets were so smooth, but the roller didn’t, well, “roll” much.  So I ended up globbing a bunch of paint on the roller and pushing it around with the roller.  Thankfully the BM Advance paint is “open” for a long time and does a really good job at self-leveling.

Here is what I started with.

Day 1: Took all the cabinet doors off and pulled all the drawers out.  As you’re taking the hardware off, put it in an individual baggie for each door.  Number the baggie and put the appropriate number on painters tape on your cabinet door.  You’ll thank me later– unless you only have a few doors that are not easy to confuse.  I also sanded, de-greased (TSP), and laid all my cabinets out for painting.  Don’t try to do this all in one day, unless you have help.

Sand the doors evenly, enough to take the waxy/shiny finish off, but not too much.  You just need someone for the paint to adhere to.  I used a palm sander, but with almost 40 doors/drawers to work on, it took me HOURS to sand them all.  Be thorough– you don’t want your paint to peel later.  I was also too lazy to remove all the things out of cabinets, so I just placed butcher paper over the openings before I sanded.  Ridiculous, but effective.

Day 2: Paint primer on backside of doors & cabinet frames in kitchen.  Start with your brush, paint around edges the roller can’t get into, then use the roller over everything you can.  The paint is good, but the fewest brush strokes is best.

Day 3: Turn cabinet doors over and paint front side of doors & drawers.

Day 4: Turn over and paint first coat of topcoat on backside of doors & cabinet frames in kitchen.

Day 5: Second coat of topcoat on backside of doors and cabinet frames in kitchen.

Day 6: Let dry

Day 7-8: No time to paint 😦 busy evenings

Day 9: Turn cabinet doors over, paint first coat of topcoat on cabinet doors & drawers

Day 10: Second coat of topcoat on the front side of the cabinet doors and drawers.

Day 11-13: Let dry

Day 14: Install doors & drawers, drill for hardware holes, and repair any nicks with paint

Day 17: Install hardware.

My kitchen looks about a million times better now, and since I was silly enough to undertake this project in the middle of the winter, I now have half of my home back (for two weeks it was littered with butcher paper and half-painted cabinet doors).  The transformation makes all the HOURS of prep and painting worth it.

In that token… here is a breakdown of my time…

  • Taking doors off: 1.5 hours
  • Sanding doors: 3 hours
  • De-greasing: 1  hour
  • Laying out doors/drawers: 1 hour
  • Painting cabinets (primer/paint/kitchen wall color/touch ups): 30 hours
  • Installing doors/drawers: 2 hours
  • Drilling hardware holes: 1.5 hours
  • Installing hardware: 2 hours

Total: 42 hours.  Yep, in two weeks, I basically worked a 22 hr/wk job on top of my day job.

Worth it?  You bet.

Here’s another before and after.

Have you been up to any cabinet painting lately?

Giani Granite: How to paint your counters

My kitchen was re-done about four years ago (three years before I moved in), and basically included all builder-grade fixtures.  I have tons of counter space, but the counters were a marbled, salmon-pink color.  And combined with the orange-oak cabinets, my kitchen was really very “blah”.

I’ve always loved the look of granite, but I knew that I would probably have to sell all of my arms and legs to cover putting in real granite counters– not to mention that for my house, and my neighborhood, that much granite would be a silly investment (that I wouldn’t be able to earn back).  So I looked around for solutions.  Anything had to be better than the ugly salmon color.

And then I found Giani Granite online.  I was sold.  I did my research, looked at all the facebook pictures happy users have uploaded to decide what color I wanted, and drove out to Walmart to buy my kit(s).  I chose the Bombay Black kit.

This was my inspiration:

Here’s what you need:

  • Giani Granite kit(s) – each kit covers 35 sq ft (I bought two kits because I needed to cover almost 40 sq ft) $140 ($70 for each kit)
  • Painters tape – FREE
  • Butcher paper – FREE
  • An artist’s paintbrush (just a small brush to paint in the corners) – FREE
  • Tin foil – FREE
  • Paper plates – FREE

COST: $140

What to do:

1. Clean your counters WELL.  Use a mild soap and scrubby sponge to get EVERYTHING off your counters.  Then, wash them again with just water at least three times to make sure all the soap and everything else is gone.  Also, if you have caulk anywhere touching your counters, remove it all.

2.  Spend some time taping around your counters and sink.  Use the butcher paper to protect your cabinets/backsplash.  Use AT LEAST THREE lines of painters tape above the counters/backsplash to make applying giani easier.  I only used two lines in most places and had to wipe paint off my tiles several times.  No fun.

3. Paint on your primer layer.  Use the foam brush included to get around the edges, but use the roller as much as you can–smoother finish.   One coat of primer should be fine.  Don’t worry too much about lines, they’ll be covered up with the paint.

4. Let your primer dry overnight.

5. Get out your sponge(s) and cut them up.  See a good way to cut them up from the Giani directions HERE (click “View, print, or download Giani Instructions).

6. Pour your paint onto the paper plates and use the black practice sheet to try them out.

**The paint colors are numbered for the order you should use them in.  My inspiration picture suggested that I use my paints in a different order: Bronze, White, Black.  So that’s what I did.  Different combinations get you different results.

7. Start painting your counters.  Work in three-foot sections at a time.  Paint all three colors and then move onto the next counter section.  Using the colors on top of each other before they can dry creates this really cool marbled look in the paint.

8. I let my counters dry first, but you could do this right away.  Use the painters brush to get into the hard-to-reach corners and edges.  I found that using the brush was the only way to get paint all the way up to my tile backsplash.

9. Let the counter dry (I waited overnight, but I think the directions say to wait four hours).

10. Paint on the shiny top coat.  This was my favorite step.  The shiny coat is what makes the counters look so similar to granite.  Watch THIS video before you start.  It’s gives a great explanation on how to paint the top coat on (it dries super fast!) without ending up with dull patches.  I used this method and didn’t have ANY dull, dry patches when I was done.

11. Paint on your second coat of shiny top coat and let it dry.

12. Once the final top coat is dry to the touch, you can remove the painters tape CAREFULLY.  Use an X-Acto knife (or razor blade) to score between the paint and the tape, otherwise you could peel up your newly-painted counters!


Giani says to let the counters dry for two, full days before you put anything on them or use them, and then to wait two weeks before you can use them like normal.

Here is my before & after!

What have you been working on lately?

I’m linking up with My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia ‘s link up party HERE.

Subway Tile Backsplash

I’m sorry I’ve been so remiss in posting here.  Between a trip to NY for New Years (!), catching up at work, and saving my pennies for my next big project, I’ve been amazingly busy.

But, last week the tile for my backsplash project came in the mail (does it seem silly that Home Depot doesn’t have white 3×6″ subway tile in stock to anyone else?) and I was so giddy about getting started that I actually dreamed about it.

Yep, I was that excited about it.

What you need:

  • Tile & edge tile (measure the area you’re planning to tile and figure out your square footage– THIS is a great explanation on how to do that.
  • Adhesive (or thinset)  I used Omni-Grip and purchased the larger 4-gallon bucket from HD.  I used more than half of it.
  • Grout.  I used Custom Building Products in Bright White from HD.
  • Grout float
  • Square notch trowel (the size of the notched depends on the size of the tile you’re using)
  • Wet saw (if you have any intricate corners or switches to work around, you’ll definitely need one of these, but you can rent them for a day)  If you only have straight cuts to make, you can probably get along with a Snap Cutter
  • Level
  • Tape & butcher paper (or plastic)

Here is a true “before” picture.  This was taken a couple of months ago for my one-year “House-versary”

And this is what it looked like once I ripped the awful laminate “backsplash” that was already up.  You can just barely see it in the picture, but it was gross.  Super thin with really ugly metal quarter round at the top and by the counter.  Plus, it wasn’t sealed correctly and it was always teeming with ants.  GROSS.

What to do:

1. wash the backsplash area with TSP, to get rid of any oils, grease, or whatnot off the wall.  Better safe than sorry.

2. If you’ll be tiling behind an oven/range, then cut a board (or scrap) to a few inches shorter than the opening.  Using your level, nail it securely (but not so tight you can’t remove it later) to the wall.

3. Figure out where your edge pieces need to go, use the level to measure a straight line guide on the wall.

4. Lay out your tile pattern with your edge pieces and start making your first cuts.

5. Use the notched trowel to put adhesive on the wall where you want to lay the tile.  I used the un-notched side to get it on the wall initially, then switched to the notched side to keep the layer of adhesive even.

This is a great video for technique.

6. Lay on each tile and push in securely to make sure it’s stuck.  And make sure that you use spacers between your bottom tile and counter.  Subway tiles are amazing and self-space themselves, but if you’re using a tile that doesn’t self-space, make sure you buy spacers and use them to keep even grout lines.

7. I found it easiest (and most encouraging) to keep placing as many whole tiles as I could before I started cutting weirdly-sized pieces.  Just make sure you leave enough room for the cut pieces to add in later.

Keep going around the room until you’re done.

Then just grout according to the instructions on the box (mix, wait, apply, wait, wash off, buff, done!)

And now I have shiny, beautiful tile.


  • If you’re buying multiple packages of tile (in one color), make sure you mix the boxes before you start to discourage discoloration lines from one color batch to the next.
  • Buy AT LEAST 15% more tile than you need for square footage.  If you have to order it to be shipped to you, expect that some will break in transit, others will break when you try to cut them.  I needed 38 sq. ft, I purchased 50 sq ft, I only had about 3-4 sq. ft of tile left.
  • Turn off the power to your electrical outlets–I shocked myself at least a dozen times when I got too close.
  • Don’t put too much adhesive on the back of the tiles.  Too little adhesive and the tiles won’t stick, too much and it will come through the crack in between the tiles.
  • Borrow, rent, or purchase a wet saw.  They’re amazing.  And a huge time saver for difficult, but necessary cuts.

I’m linking up with My Repurposed Life, to see all the links, go HERE.

I was “caught” by My Repurposed Life.  Check out some other great tutorials/project there!