My Sort of DIY Face Vase

Since I started following Making it lovely, I fell in love with her funky male and female bust vases. Check them out here and here. I love that her husband called them “chia pets for hipsters.”


However, I don’t have an extra $300 lying around to spend on a couple vases. So I went on a mission to try and find something similar that would be more in my price range.

Here’s what I found:

1) Jonathan Adler design


Found here but couldn’t find a price.

2) West End’s Ceramic head found here– $59


3) Piero Fornasetti perpetual face vase- found on ebay for around $99


4) A cute owl vase! Found here for $23.99!

owl vase

I have to say that the owl vase is by far my favorite and I could kick myself for not getting the one I saw at HomeGoods for less than $10. (I’ve gone back since and haven’t had any luck finding it again.)

Here’s where the DIY part comes in:

I happened to be in Ross today and I did a double take when I saw this vase:


It reminded me of the fornasetti perpetual face vase and for $10 I figured I wasn’t losing much if it didn’t work out.

I loved the perpetual faces, I didn’t love the color or texture above the faces. I was looking for a little more modern art and a little less hindu god.

I decided to experiment and out came the palm sander.


Sorry Shiva or whoever you are.

It took quite a while to sand out all of the texture at the top part of the vase and it’s no where near perfect but it turned out OK considering.

Once it was completely sanded I brought out the paint:


Here’s how it looks now:


You can see there is still a little texture variation at the top so I may have to go back and re-sand but we’ll see. I also may add a stripe of color to the top but I still haven’t decided. I’m pretty happy with it considering it cost me less than $20. Love my hipster chia pet 🙂


I have since painted the face vase a bronze color to match the dining room light fixture.

IMG_2270[1] IMG_2269[1]


1K-ish Kitchen Renovation (The Budget Breakdown)

Since we are nearing the finish line in the kitchen I figured it was time for a budget breakdown. Before I share the $$ spent on this project, I thought it would be interesting to look at the picture of the kitchen that was used when this house was on the market and compare it to what we’ve accomplished so far:

2012 listing picture:

kitchen before

2013 90% finished:


A few more before and afters:





Still on the TO DO List: Toe kicks, trim, and painting.

Here’s what we’ve spent so far:

  1. Cabinet Primer: $20
  2. Cabinet Coat Paint (White): $50
  3. Cabinet Pulls: $104
  4. New Hinges: $58
  5. Oak Countertops: $387
  6. Butcher Block Wax: $9
  7. Apron Sink: $90
  8. Faucet: $218
  9. Pendant Light: $70
  10. Beadboard (backsplash & cabinet ends): $79
  11. Ceiling Light: $50
  12. Misc Materials: $250 (Includes palm sander, sandpaper, paint brushes, liquid nails, heat gun, nails, GFCI Outlets, etc.

TOTAL: $1,385


Fridge: $1,000

Dishwasher: $360

Range Hood: $100

Total: $1,460

I think we did pretty well for our little kitchen makeover! 🙂

Kitchen Progress- Almost Complete!



For the past few days Nate and I have been working like crazy on the kitchen and now we are finally able to see some fruits to our labor.

Things we’ve accomplished since Sunday:

1) Attached new hinges and hardware to cabinet doors.

2) Attached doors back on to cabinet boxes.

3) Installed new dishwasher

4) Finished installing butcher block countertops

5) Installed a new range hood

6) Installed beadboard on sink side as a backsplash.

Things still on the to do list:

1) Install beadboard behind range and ends of cabinets

2) Spackle and paint beadboard

3) Install crown molding and trim pieces

4) Paint ceiling

For now I am just happy to be able to put all of my dishes back in place and bring order back to my house after several months.

It truly is amazing how much paint can transform a room. We love looking at the progress we’ve made so far.

Our kitchen started out like this:





And now looks like this:





So much better already! Once we have completely finished our renovation I will be going through all of my receipts in order to break down all of the costs involved in our makeover. That will be interesting for sure since I have no idea what the total cost will come out to. 🙂

Our Lucky Day!

Yesterday we planned a trip to Ikea to pick up our countertops and DOMSJO apron sink. We had made arrangements with Nate’s parents to use their truck in order to haul everything home. (We had already learned our lesson in regards to going to ikea without a truck!)


Before leaving I made up a quick shopping list through and that’s when I saw this:



It had been in stock the night before so needless to say I was very upset.

We headed out to Ikea anyway since we needed the truck for the countertops and those were definitely in stock.

We ended up going with the Numerar butcher block in oak.

After arriving at Ikea and placing my countertop order, Nate suggested we check out the ‘As Is’ section. It was there that the heavens opened up and the Ikea Gods smiled down upon us. There, on the back wall was my DOMSJO sink in perfect condition and for half off!



Nate stood guard while I ran for a cart. We felt like we had hit the jackpot. Smiling ear to ear, we rolled our baby to the register.

After the Ikea miracle we figured we would test our luck once again at a different Home Depot in hopes that our perfect faucet would be in stock. I called ahead since my app was showing only two available, meaning there was only one plus the floor model. The guy I spoke with said they were out of stock Wah! I thought our luck had run out, and then my phone rang. It was the Home Depot guy I had just spoken with. He said they had one left and pulled it for us to pick up at the desk. Sweet!

We figured we would keep testing our luck and headed to Lowes to look at some dishwashers. (It would be much easier to change out our dishwasher without countertops in place.)

We had our eyes on this dishwasher:|1&pl=1&currentURL=%3FgoToProdList%3Dtrue%26Ns%3Dp_product_qty_sales_dollar%7C1&facetInfo=

Online it was listed as $399 so when we were at the store and it was priced at $449 we asked for a price check. When the guy put in the model # the price popped up as $349. What the what! We seriously should’ve played the lotto. We placed our order and scheduled delivery.

Thoroughly exhausted, we headed home with our loot.

Nate worked like a mad man to get the sink, faucet, and some countertops installed the same night. We also removed the old dishwasher while we were at it.

Here’s where we’re at today:



I am now thinking that I am going to replace the pendant light over the sink with something less visually “heavy” in order to let the sink/faucet be the focal point. This picture just doesn’t do the new counters justice. They are a beautiful color and they give so much warmth to the room.

Here’s a side by side comparison of our progress:



I am loving this view:


Kitchen Faucet Hunting

Cabinet Update: First coat of Cabinet Coat paint is on and the doors are currently drying in the sun room!! YAY! FYI the Cabinet Coat paint is amazing and really does dry to an almost factory finish.

Now on to the topic at hand: Kitchen faucet shopping.

Because we are going to attempt to install the IKEA DOMSJO sink we needed to find a faucet that met very specific qualifications:


Our Faucet Specifications:

1) Needs to be a one hole installation (I am not comfortable drilling additional holes in the sink although I’ve heard it can be done).

2) Since there’s no hole for a side sprayer it needs to be some sort of pull down or pull out spout with spray option.

3) Spout reach needs to be at least 8 inches to reach all corners of the sink.

4) Good customer reviews (at least 4 out of 5 stars).

5) $200ish

My first inclination was to look for a faucet at Ikea, but their only spray faucets were either too expensive or didn’t spray.

faucet post3

Ikea GLITTRAN $149- I absolutely love this style and price, however there is no sprayer and for us it just wouldn’t be practical considering how much we use our current sprayer in the kitchen.

faucet post2

Ikea ELVERDAM $179- I also love this style and the spout does pull down, however there is no spray option and I read some negative reviews in regards to the water pressure.

Overall, I wasn’t impressed with the Ikea options. It was on to Home Depot which is right down the road, making it convenient should we ever have to return or exchange the faucet that we decide to go with.

After sifting through tons of reviews and information I decided (or thought I decided) to go with a simple model from HD:

faucet post 5

American Standard Fairbury $129- This faucet met all of my requirements and the sleek lines really won me over (not to mention the price).

Off to Home Depot we went to check out this beauty in person. It definitely looked great and I gave the spout a good tug and let go. Much to our surprise the spout flew back up snapping off pieces of the plastic grommet at the top of the neck. Needless to say I didn’t feel comfortable spending over $100 on a product that would break that easily.

After that experience, we went through the models, tugging, pulling, and scanning barcodes to read reviews (Love my Home Depot App!). After some time we finally decided on two contenders:

faucet post6

Moen Benton $198- Excellent reviews and met all of our requirements.

faucet post4

Moen Lindley $218- Just over our budget, but we loved the look. This faucet felt like it would fit in better with the country look we are going for, especially with the apron sink. Spending $18 more to get the look I wanted seems completely worth it to me! 🙂


Ready to pull the trigger on the faucet purchase, we looked for our cargo on the shelves…..only to find an empty spot where our precious faucet was supposed to be 😦 Apparently the one that was listed in stock is the model. Wah! Hopefully we’ll just pick it up at a different store.

Tomorrow we will also be picking up:

1) Our new countertops

2) Our apron sink

3) Beadboard backsplash

Our budget kitchen reno is definitely underway.

Kitchen Update

Part one of our kitchen update: Painting Cabinets

Painting our kitchen cabinets is taking FOREVER. Seriously. FOREVER.

Take my advice. If you work full time and are thinking about painting your kitchen cabinets, do yourself a favor and do one section at a time. This allows you to see your progress and motivate you to keep going. Of course, it will be a much easier job if your cabinets aren’t covered in laminate veneer sheets that need to be removed.

Taking on the entire kitchen at once is extremely overwhelming and even disheartening at times.

Here’s a breakdown of our timeline so far:

Weekend #1- Take down all doors, remove all hardware, remove all dishes from cabinets and move into living room,dining room, and guest rooms (Your house should look like you are having an indoor garage sale).


Weekend #2- Start sanding, realize that sanding does nothing on the laminate veneer and start peeling the veneer sheet off instead. Realize that using a heat gun will make your life ten times easier and finish removing all veneer sheets.


Weekend #3- Remove veneer sheets from cabinet boxes, drawers, and sides of doors. Remove backsplash. Clean disgusting wall that was behind the backsplash.


Weekend #4- Sand all doors using 40 grit in order to remove all the glue from the laminate veneer. Sand inside cabinet boxes as well.


Weekend #5+#6- Rest and go to couples counseling 🙂


Weekend #7- Finally finish sanding! Final sanding included 220 grit for a smooth surface. Research primers and paints. See final decision below.

Finally start priming!!! Hallelujah!



Our primer of choice:


I had briefly debated using an oil based primer like B-I-N but decided to be more “green” and since we were no longer painting over the laminate veneer I didn’t think we really needed something as strong as B-I-N. Plus it was a lot cheaper: $20 at Home Depot.

As far as paint goes, I am leaning towards using Cabinet Coat or Benjamin Moore. Anyone use either of these?

Hoping to have more progress for you in the next post. (Hopefully it won’t take us another six weeks to finish!)

Thrifting Finds

Today I needed to get away from the disaster zone that is our kitchen and get my thrift store fix. So far there hasn’t been much progress besides removing the backsplash on one side.



We are moving along slowly but surely.

Back to my thrift finds, here’s what I managed to snag today from Goodwill and a vintage shop in the downtown area.



First, I found these cute Churchill blue willow china cups at Goodwill. I don’t think I really got them for a steal ($2.88 a cup) but I love having a matching set of cups for my coffee bar.

Next, I stopped at my favorite vintage shop in my little downtown area. It’s called Ella’s What Not Shop and Ella just happens to be the cutest little puppy that hangs out in the shop.

Their facebook page:



I bought the TEA cup ($5) that is now up on my coffee bar, as well as this cool little vintage looking frame ($3). I had been looking for a small oval frame for a while so this fit the bill perfectly. Still need to figure out where it’s new home will be.


Finally, I snagged a gorgeous vintage looking globe with a wooden base ($20). It now sits on top of the library along with my mini globe from homegoods and my light up globe from Goodwill.



My goal it to fill the top of the library with globes, similar to this picture I found on Pinterest, although it looks like it’s from an IKEA catalog.



Another inspiration pic:



Okay, I need to stop procrastinating and start tackling the monster that is our kitchen renovation. Hopefully we will have more progress to share soon!



Kitchen Phases

We’ve finally started on the kitchen! This weekend we finished taking the doors and hardware off and began to sand.

Our cabinets look exactly like the cabinets in this blog:

As I was sanding the very first door, we realized that the sanding was not having much effect on the laminate. I changed to a lower grit and kept right on sanding. Then a funny thing happened. I noticed the corner of the laminate starting to peel up, so I gave it a tug and the entire laminate sheet peeled off to reveal actual wood underneath.



Here I am holding up that fateful piece of laminate.

From there we tried to continue removing the laminate from the remaining doors. Of course it was absolutely impossible to do. Then we realized that the solution was heat. Obviously, the continuous sanding on the first door had warmed up the glue enough to release the laminate. From there we used a heat gun and the laminate sheets came off like butter.



Here’s Nate demonstrating our technique for removing the laminate strips.



We have been removing a little each night after work. We are hoping to have all of the laminate removed by this weekend so that we can spend some time patching holes and sanding.



Here’s an up close look at a cabinet that has half of the laminate stripped. (Please ignore the mess inside!)

So that’s the kitchen progress so far.

I am hoping to complete our kitchen face lift in three phases:

Phase #1- Paint cabinets and replace hardware.

Phase #2- Replace counter top and backsplash.

Phase #3- Finishing touches, flooring options to cover hideous tile, replace appliances (dishwasher, stove, and microwave)

What’s in my water?

A few weeks ago Nate and I used his TDS meter to test our tap water and a couple of bottled waters. From there, my curiosity grew and I decided to test several other types of bottled water.


If you are unfamiliar with TDS (total disolved solids) testing, the following article would be a good place to start before looking at my results:

Some highlights of the article:

  • “TDS is anything—other than the pure H2O—in water that you cannot see. This could include any salt, metal or mineral, and the lower the TDS level is, the purer the water.”
  • “In reality, a TDS meter measures the electrical conductivity of water or, in other words, the total amount of mobile charged ions found in water. If an element is dissolved in water and can conduct electricity, it is called an electrolyte. Salt, for example, is an electrolyte. Sugar, however, is not and will therefore not register on a conductivity or TDS meter. This is one reason why a TDS meter is only an estimate of the true TDS.”
  • TDS is measured on a quantity scale, either in mg/L or, more commonly, in parts per million (ppm). Simply put, if the TDS level is 335 ppm, this means that out of one-million parts of H2O, 335 of those parts are something else.

Some other good resources include:

Some things to keep in mind:

1) Not all total dissolved solids are bad.

2) All of the water I tested was in the “excellent” range for TDS

3) My results are estimates and results will definitely vary depending on your location and TDS meter.

4) There are many other tests for water quality (such as pH) that should be used in addition to a TDS test.

My Results-

1) Our Tap Water


TDS=219 ppm (parts per million)


2) Brita Filtered Water (Filter replaced one week ago)



TDS= 134 ppm


3) Pur Aqua Spring (ALDI Brand)-




TDS= 191 ppm


4) Nice! Spring Water (Walgreens)


TDS= 191 ppm

*I am pretty sure that the Aldi and Walgreens brand are the same exact water as they are both bottled at the same facility.*


5) Publix Spring



TDS= 164 ppm

Label Claim: “Processed by advanced filtration and ozone technologies”


6) Nestle Pure Life



TDS= 50 ppm

Label Claim: “Enhanced with minerals for taste.”


7) Aquafina (Pepsi Brand)



TDS= 4 ppm

Label: “…purified through a rigorous seven-step process called Hydro-7”


8) Dasani (Coca-Cola Brand)



TDS= 30 ppm

Label: “Enhanced with minerals for a pure, fresh taste.”


9) Iceland pure



TDS= 44 ppm

“Filtered through the lava mountains of Iceland, it has one of the naturally lowest mineral contents of any water and a high pH of 8.88.”

*I tested  the pH level and it was significantly lower than 8.88 that the label claims.*


10) Zephyrhills



TDS= 190


11) Evian



TDS= 293

Label: “Dissolved solids at 180C: 309 ppm”


12) Penta



TDS= 0 ppm

Label: “Trace Pharmaceuticals Free, Bisphenol A Free, Chlorine Free, Arsenic Free, MTBE Free, Chromium 6 Free, Fluoride Free.”

“Penta Water is Over 100X More Pure than Leading National Brands.”

I’ve been told that water with 0 ppm would taste flat, but this water didn’t  taste bad in any way.


13) Icelandic



TDS= 52 ppm

Label: “Total Dissolved Solids 62 ppm”


14) VOSS



TDS= 35 ppm

Label: “Total Dissolved Solids 44”


15) FIJI



TDS= 138 ppm

Label: “Total Dissolved Solids 224”


If you’re interested in testing your own water I would recommend the TDS meter.


I’m not sure what brand this meter is but a similar one can easily be found on amazon:

Happy Water Testing!

I haven’t posted in quite a while, mostly because not much has changed around the house. We had family visiting during Spring Break, so there was a mad dash to clean the house and get the two back rooms and bathroom suitable for guests. My parents could not believe the transformation of the house so far. It was very encouraging to hear the positive feedback on our hard work.



The fam enjoying a pancake breakfast.



My brother and I in Mexico @ Epcot.

Our homemade chalkboard is finally up in the sitting room!



Check out some of my first chalkboard messages!




After a day of antiquing there were some additions to the plate wall:



Another look at the sitting room through my Goodwill mirror.



Another beautiful Florida sunset!




Next up: our kitchen renovation!

Can’t wait to transform this room: