Archive of ‘DIY projects’ category

January Month in Review


Happy February, everyone!

January was a busy month as we have been working on several projects for 2015. I enjoy doing these Month in Review posts because it is nice to have all the posts from the month in one organized recap. This way you can easily revisit something, see all the posts from a series, or catch up if you missed one. Here’s our January Month in Review and it is full of design and some DIY you can tackle on any given weekend.


My office space had to be moved again due to the remodeling going on around here. This simple DIY was the jumping off point for my new workspace and a bedroom refresh.

Floral artwork above desk

Framed Paper Art

Our DIY library wall is one of my favorite projects we have finished in our home and it got taken up a notch with some beautiful grasscloth and a little help from Walls Republic.


Grasscloth Backed Bookcases


We have quite a few design projects going on right now. Even some I haven’t shared yet! I shared the design process of our bedroom refresh in a series the month of January. I’m just waiting on one more thing to arrive and we can photograph it and share the reveal soon! I just love the way it is coming together.


Bedroom Bedding Options


Bedroom Rug Options

One very large project we have been tackling this month is our bathroom makeover. This is a complete gut and remodel project. We haven’t been sharing the process on the blog and we are saving all the details for the big reveal. There is a lot going on behind the scenes on this one and it is the design project that I am most excited about so far in 2015! We did share the design plans so you could get an idea of what we have been doing around here. You can get some behind the scenes teasers on our Instagram too.


Bathroom Makeover Plans


With a new year comes new office supplies and I shared my favorite ways to stay organized in 2015.


On My Desk 2015

I have been busy sourcing decor for our bathroom remodel and shared some of my finds that will totally pump up the style in your bathroom.

Bathroom Accessories to Add Style

Sources for Chic Bathroom Accessories

After the holidays and the decluttering, it’s nice to refresh your decor and wardrobe a bit. I found some awesome finds that won’t hurt your pocketbook at Target.


My Target Style Finds


So much inspires me in the world of design and I like to share the love. I shared some great examples of how to add animal print into your space in a tasteful way.

Animal Print Runner Inspiration

Animal Print Runner Inspiration Gallery


The January/February issue of HGTV Magazine hit newsstands and I had fun collaborating on a design around a basic sofa.


HGTV Magazine Feature

Our February projects are in full swing and we are still working away on our bathroom remodel.  I will also have some Valentine’s Day decor and ideas to share soon too.

We were snowed in yesterday and enjoyed a family day at home. Anyone else in the same boat? We got a foot of snow and it was blustery, so school was cancelled and Dave couldn’t commute to work. It’s coming your way East Coast friends! Stay warm!!

A Desk Makeover + More Blogger Stylin’ Christmas Home Tours

Hi Everyone! I have one more day until I share my Holiday Home Tour and I was able to squeeze in a little furniture makeover.

desk-makeover We were given a desk a while back. We were going to use it for our son, but we have had lots of new developments with what’s going on with our boys, their rooms, and the layout and function of our home. I’ll share more on that later.  As my grams says, to make a long story short, I needed to find a home for this little desk or give it away. Well, it has a new home in our living room. Now that I’ve floated the furniture,  I have space behind the sofa for a little workspace. My office nook for the present.

Here’s the Before:

before-desk-makeover In its defense, it used to belong to a little girl. So the lavender is fitting. It was in good shape except for some dents on the top. I used the same painting method as this desk makeover. Basically, patch, sand, prime, and paint with a foam roller brush. You can get all the specifics in that post I just referenced.



The hardware is really the star of this makeover. I used these brass pulls from D Lawless Hardware.



I am always amazed at what a little paint and some new bling can do to an old piece of furniture!



Oh, and just FYI– these brass lion pulls are on sale for 75 cents!!!


brass lion head pull


Tomorrow, I’ll be sharing how I’m using this space in my Holiday Home Tour. I hope you enjoyed Day 1 of the Blogger Stylin’ Christmas Home Tours. Check out Monday’s tours here if you missed them or you can see the complete list of participants. We’ll be sharing our homes all week long!

Here’s todays tours:



Ashley – The Handmade Home
Anneke – This, That, & Life
Cassie – Primitive & Proper
Caitlin – Desert Domicile
Sarah – The Thriftress
Carolyn – Sweet Chaos Home
Shavonda – A Home Full of Color
Come back here tomorrow and I will be sharing my Holiday Home Tour along with some fabulous bloggers!!
Enjoy the tours!

Holiday Mantel 2013

I have been doing a bit of holiday decorating this week, and today I wanted to share our holiday mantel. It is the first year I have had a real mantel to deck out! You can see our before and after of our fireplace or check out how we added tile to it here.


This year we are adding to our silver and gold with some black too. It’s so rich and lovely! Our white and marble fireplace makes the perfect backdrop for this combo too.


For a little fun, I added the gifts to the fireplace instead of wood. I told the kids Santa had an accident, but they didn’t buy it. Can you believe that!  They informed me Santa hadn’t been here yet.


I love the white gifts popping out of the fireplace. It probably won’t stay like this for long since the weather will insist we have a fire soon, but for now I think this is just lovely.

The gift wrap is all about the ribbon. Simple white boxes or packages wrapped with old wrapping paper give a nice white shape. I just save old birthday paper and flip it over to the white side to make some easy wrapping. The ribbon adds the elegance and I adorned some of the packages with gold leafed white feathers and pheasant feathers.


I found these fur stockings at Target. We have one for each of us, including our little puppy Zoey. She kind of looks like one of these stockings…if we put her in there we may not find her!


The ornament trees are a project from last year. Just a simple garland and some disco ball ornaments are the only other things I added. I cluster the ornaments in groupings. This is a great idea, especially if you don’t have enough ornaments to fill up the entire garland.

disco-ball-oranments The final touch is some firewood stored in a tall basket. The little chalkboard label is fun to change with the season.





Today I am linking my mantel design over at Ten June and Our Fifth House for the Holiday Cheer Link Party:


Also, next week I will be joining 50 bloggers for another Blogger Stylin’ Home Tour hosted by Lindsay of The White Buffalo Styling Co. We are all opening our doors for a week of Christmas home tours!! Today’s post was just a preview of the holiday happenings to come!!

BSHT Christmas Graphic copy


Linking to: The Inspiration Gallery

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas!



How to Tile a Fireplace

I’d like to thank The Tile Shop for sponsoring this project by supplying the tile and tiling supplies for this makeover. 


Thanks for all your lovely comments yesterday on our Fireplace Makeover Before & After!!! You guys made my day! Today, we are going to share how we tiled our fireplace…uneven stone and all.

This was our first time tiling EVER. Not going to lie, I was a bit intimidated at first until we got some guidance. We took a trip to The Tile Shop a few months ago to make our selections and attended their free DIY Tile Class. This was AMAZING. We got to get some tiling expertise and hands on experience. Our tile expert even took the time to give us pointers for our specific project and even said we could call him with any questions we have along the way. I like my hand being held when I take on new projects so this was so great! You can see our visit to The Tile Shop here.

So, let’s get started! Here is the Before of our fireplace:


As you can see, we had our work cut out for us! After we removed the glass doors and weird staggered stone shelves, we had to make a level surface to tile on. The stone is really uneven and where we wanted to tile it had a difference of up to an inch in different parts. This we took our time doing. If the surface isn’t right your tile would be a mess! You can’t rush this part.

First, we cleaned the stone. Then, we measured our dimensions of the area we wanted to tile and drew directly on the stone with chalk.


Here is what we used for this part of our project:


 Pro-Bond No Sag Thinset Mortar||Margin Trowel for mixing|| 3/16 Pro Series V-notch Trowel||Bucket||Level||Straight Edge

All products are available at The Tile Shop

To start, we mixed our thinset by hand. Some people use a drill attachment but we mixed small batches at time and were not sure how much we would use. Once it is at the right consistency, you should be able to put some on a trowel and turn it upside down and it will stick. We were very slow on this part. Part fear of messing it up, and the part waiting between applications for it to dry. Not going to lie. This was tedious, but necessary to ensure a level foundation for our tile.


Between layers we used a 2×4 and a level to check our progress. This allowed us to see where we needed to add more thinset. Once we achieved a level surface, we smoothed it down with a smoothing stone.

 Now we are ready to tile!!!

We selected some beautiful Carrara marble tile for the surround. We used 10 tiles (12×12 size)  for this. We also used matching Carrara bullnose tiles to finish off the edge of the fireplace.



657360 Let’s Tile!!!

Lay it out-

The first thing we did was lay out our tile in a pattern and arrangement that we thought looked most appealing. Then we marked our cuts.


We had to cut the pieces on the outer edge so they were even and we used those pieces on the inside edge. We marked our cuts, and pulled those tiles off the backing. Just make sure when you reuse those pieces flip them so that the manufactured edge is showing.


Having a dog around is not necessary when you are tiling. They are helpful if you want someone to sit on your back while you are working. Poor Zoey just wanted to play when we were busy doing this. We had to call in the kiddos to babysit.

Make Your Cuts-

You will need a wet saw to cut your tile. You can rent them at any home improvement store or you can buy one if you are going to tile a lot.

348578-wet-saw We used one very similar to the one shown above. It had the adjustable table which was really handy. Wet saw blades last a long time, but if you are cutting delicate tile you may want to put a new blade on your saw. The store we rented ours from was nice enough to put a new blade on for us. One trick we learned at the tile class is to use packing tape on the tile. This protects it from chipping and breaking. We had a new blade and didn’t have to do that with this tile. Another tip we picked up that we used was to have 2 buckets handy. One for clean water and one for the used dirty water instead of using it in the tray under the saw.

using-a-wet-saw We also cut the bullnose tiles to equal lengths based off the inner measurements of the fireplace.

 Apply thinset and tile-


Pro-Bond No Sag Thinset||Margin Trowel||3/16 ProSeries V-notch Trowel||Bucket||Grout Float||Tile Spacers||Level

All available at The Tile Shop

We mixed our thinset ‘hot’.  This means it sets faster. There were some raps we made up while we were doing this that I will spare you from. We made small batches at a time. Applying the thinset you want to have an even application. Hold your trowel at a 45 degree angle for the best application. Place your tile. I recommend using spacers even with mosaic tile. It will want to move around on you, especially on a vertical application. Check your placement with a level as you go. Press the tile down with the grout float to make sure there are not any air bubbles. Let it dry for 24 hours before you grout.


Grout it-


Pro-Grout Sanded||Flexible Grout Admixture||2 Buckets (1 for grout/1 for water)||Margin Trowel||Grout Float||2 Sponges

All available at The Tile Shop

Make sure your tile is clean and free from debris. You can clean the stone with stone cleaner before you grout. Mix your grout by pouring your flexible grout adhesive in first and then mix in grout with you margin trowel. Using your margin trowel or grout float get your grout and apply it to the spaces between your tiles. Again, it is good to use 45 degrees angles with your grout float. You can remove the excess from the tiles with the grout float.  It is really good to have a buddy and a couple of sponges and water ready to go to get the excess grout off. You can turn your sponge on each swipe using all the sides and then swap it out for a clean one.

Caulk and Seal it-


Caulk Gun|| Pro-Caulk Tile & Grout Caulk|| Superior Premium Gold Sealer for Marble Kit

Since our tile was touching the wooden mantel we built, we needed to properly seal it. We used Pro-Caulk along all the edges that the tile met the wood. Once everything thing dried we gave it all one last cleaning with the marble cleaner.

Here is the after:



Those bullnose tiles really do a nice job of finishing off the edge.


Friday we will share how we built our mantel to fit along the uneven stone. I also have been starting my holiday decorating…


This project is sponsored by The Tile Shop, but as always all opinions expressed are 100% mine.

Fireplace Makeover || Before & After Reveal


I hope you all had a great holiday weekend! We spent our Thanksgiving in Chicago visiting family and spending a day at The Field Museum. We had another family dinner on Saturday and we now feel like a bunch of stuffed turkeys! It was a lovely time off and we ended our weekend starting to decorate for Christmas.

Today I’m excited to share our before and after of our fireplace. We tiled, built a mantel, and painted and I love how it turned out! Our fireplace was a little outdated. Here is how it looked before we touched it.



The little staggered shelves were really awkward to me and I didn’t care for the glass doors at all. I’ve always wanted a mantel so I designed one and we got to work. We tiled directly on the stone by using the thinset to make a level surface.  We selected some beautiful Carrara marble subway tile from The Tile Shop.

See how we tiled our fireplace here


This was our first time tiling and our first time building a mantel. All and all I am really happy with how everything turned out. I will also be sharing the details of how we built our mantel and made it fit to the stone this week. The finishing touch on the mantel is the greek key trim. I purchased the trim from O’verlays.



Our living room is really coming together now. I changed the layout a bit so that our sitting area is closer to the fireplace. I floated the furniture and anchored it with the area rug centered under our chandelier. I have space behind the sofa for a sofa table and my workspace and bar cart. The room feels bigger now and we can enjoy the warmth of the fire.





Such a huge improvement! I just love that tile. I picked up some stockings today and can’t wait to hang them up. Holiday decorating is going to be so fun this year!


We are so happy with the transformation and it just makes the room.



You can see how I made this DIY Mondrian Inspired Art to add some color to my mantel.



DIY Fireplace Makeover Before & After

Linking to: TDC Before & After Party, Give Me the Goods, Creating with the Stars 2014

Fireplace Makeover Sneak Peek



Coming Soon…


Well, hello there! Did you miss me?

I am excited to share the before and after of our fireplace!! It turned out so gorgeous and Monday after the holiday I will be sharing all the details. It was also our first of 3 tiling projects we have up our sleeve. In the meantime, I just wanted to wish you a Happy Thanksgiving and safe travels to all of you who will be out and about!!

See you Monday,

10 DIY Holiday Decor Ideas to Deck the WALLS

If you are like me, your mind is already thinking of ways to deck the halls for the holidays. We plan out our trees, our tabletops, entry ways, and mantels. Another spot in our home to think about are the walls. Wreaths are a great go-to, but sometimes you want something a little different. Today, I am sharing 10 easy DIY projects to dress up your walls this holiday season and not break the bank.

10 Holiday Ideas


DIY Glitter Reindeer Art

DIY Glitter Reindeer Art

Bliss at Home

This was by far the most popular holiday post I did last year. I still love it for Holiday 2013 since gold is emerging as a front-runner for holiday decor.


DIY Sparkly Ornament Sign

sparkle sign2

House by Hoff

I just love this ornament sign April from House by Hoff made. The ornament silhouettes and arrangement make a pleasing display.


IKEA Margareta Christmas


Cuckoo 4 Design

This is so clever what Julia from Cuckoo 4 Design did with this IKEA Margareta fabric. The ornaments hung on it are the perfect touch.


DIY Christmas Canvas Art


View Along the Way

Kelly from View Along the Way used items you can find at any craft store to make this DIY chipboard letter art. Such a great idea and you could customize it to your own message.


DIY Holiday Paper Art

DIY Holiday Art

Newly Woodwards

I love it when I see ideas inspired from catalogs. Kim from Newly Woodwards did a Ballard Designs knock-off of their holiday decor.  Scrapbook paper cut out in holiday shapes and placed in frames. Super inexpensive but makes such a nice display!


DIY Vintage-Inspired Holiday Art

glitter plaques

Primitive & Proper

Cassie from Primitive & Proper added a vintage touch to her decor with these DIY Holiday Plaques. Using a vintage Santa book she took the pages and added them to these plaques. I just love them! So charming!!


DIY Instagram Wall Art

DIY Holiday photo art

Wills Casa

I love what Amber and Nick from Wills Casa did with their Instagram photos for Thanksgiving. I could see this done for the holidays saying “BE MERRY”. They made a letter grid using Instagram photos they printed in a template in Photoshop. So creative and a great way to showcase those memories.


DIY Noel Sign

noel letter sign

Newly Woodwards

Kim also made this Noel sign for her front door. I love this! I could definitely see this on a mantel for the holidays.


DIY Greenery Star


Shift Ctrl Art

Katja from Shift Ctrl Art made a festive vignette using greenery from her yard. This is so simple and easy and it makes such a nice touch. I love it in this arrangement with the art on the wall.


DIY Snowflake Art


Bliss at Home

If you want something really quick and easy, you can always frame snowflake ornaments like I did here. These are just inexpensive ornaments popped in frames with scrapbook paper and fabric for backgrounds.

DIY snowflake holiday art

I don’t know about you, but that is getting me in the holiday spirit!!! I hope you found something that inspired you. What I love most is that all these projects are so creative but can done for next to nothing!

What I’ve Been Up to Lately

The Cadwallader house has been busy busy! It’s been go, go, go and writing this post is the first moment I’ve had all week to sit and have a morning coffee without it being in a travel cup. I’ve taken list-making to a whole new level–just so I can keep my thoughts straight! I have to admit, I kind of love it!

I know I’ve been a little quiet this week on the blog, but that’s because I’ve been working on some things I can’t wait to share with you!  Here’s what my week has been like thus far.

It snowed. It got really cold. Like really cold.

So, I made our family room downstairs a cabin-esque retreat with some of our fall things from around the house. That’s where Dave and I watch our shows after the kids are in bed. There’s a lot of plaid going on down there. I kind of like it!  I may actually share that part of the house around holiday time. Our bedroom is also transitioning to holiday time. No Christmas decorations yet, but this is what it looks like now. Don’t worry– Denver is still in there just on a different wall.



Not going to show you the progress, but we have been working on our fireplace and we will be sharing it next week. We’ve tiled and are building the mantel right now. It’s such a dramatic change!!!



In other news, I realized that my just turned 10-year-old is over 5’5” now! It occurred to me to measure him after his school pants we just bought him a month ago are now too short. I have giant children…



Then, after this picture I realized my uniform this week has consisted of work out clothes, sometimes covered in paint and other building materials. Then each night I top it off with a sweater to keep from freezing. This is not a good look! I am looking forward to going to a business dinner with Dave tonight just so I can look nice for once this week. Did I just say that?

Lucky for me, Sam has chronicled my fabulous Olivia Newton John/Swiss Miss outfits. My 4-year-old hijacks my camera now. This is new. Usually he is just the photo-bomber. Now he is taking the photos.


Here is one he took of me folding laundry…exciting! And this was a different night and I threw on the same sweater…sad, but true. I think a sweatband would totally pull it together…



But, I can pat myself on the back. I’ve been working out everyday and eating really healthy. I think it’s keeping me going through this busy week! I get a gold star.

If you are wondering about the hallway makeover. It’s done, except I just found out via email that the light fixture I ordered is on back order. Hate that! So, I have no idea when that will get here, but in the mean time we can all ooh and aah at its deliciousness…



The kids and I made our November bucket list. My favorite choice of theirs’ is “drink lots of cocoa”. That sounds like a plan! No wool socks this time…guess we covered that last month.



Zoey is great at letting me know when a package has arrived. She acts tough and then attacks the delivery workers with kisses. So far she has made friends with the mailman, the FedEx guy, and UPS carriers. She is better than a door bell.



One of those packages just happened to be these beauties which will be on our mantel…when we finish it that is…



So, next week I should be back to my normal routine around here. Have a fantastic weekend!!!

How to Make the Perfect Ornament Wreath for the Holidays



I know it’s only the beginning of November. I can explain. I don’t get a lot of free time around here. Yesterday, I actually had 3 hours of not having to run around like a chicken with my head cut off. It was a rainy, moody day so it was the perfect chance to go to the craft store with my main daytime squeeze, Sam.  Sam selected a turkey craft and I decided to actually do one of those things on my holiday Pinterest board. I know this is not a ground-breaking idea, but I did a achieve a nice look and wanted to share how I did it.

We stopped in Hobby Lobby and they had all their ornaments half-off, which I took as a sign that I should make this wreath. I already had the hot glue and the styrofoam wreath so it was just ornaments I needed.

You will need:


1 large styrofoam wreath

hot glue gun & glue sticks (at least one bag of glue sticks)

2 large containers of shatter-proof ornaments

4 containers of miniature ornaments

**I purchased all my supplies at Hobby Lobby for this craft.

Step 1

Start with your large ornaments, and take the hook holders off. Make sure you are using shatter-proof ornaments because you will be pressing them into the wreath. Apply glue to the tops and press them into the wreath form.

prep-ornaments I placed two side by side at an angle and worked my way around the top of the wreath.



Step 2 

Now repeat this method on the outside edge and place them so they are touching.


Step 3

Repeat method on the inside edge.


Step 4

Take the left over ornaments and fill in the wider gaps.


Quick note. I placed the duller ornaments on the bottom and filled the gaps with the shinier ones.

Step 5

Now you have used all your large ornaments. You will fill in any left over gaps with the smaller ornaments.  I started on the inside and worked my way out.

step-5-wreath Layering your ornaments this way ensures a nice shape and makes it easier to fill in gaps. You don’t need to wrap your wreath in ribbon before you start if you stick to this layout. Now all you have to do is pick out a pretty ribbon and hang it up for the holidays!





This took me about an hour to do, but I was helping my little guy with his craft too. It’s a lot of ornaments and a lot of glue, but I think the end result is pretty perfect.

Linking to: Inspire Me Please, Inspiration Gallery, The Party Bunch, Frugalicious Friday, Christmas Cheer 

Latest Thrifty Finds and DIY Projects

I thought I’d share with you some our latest thrifty finds and what we’ve been up to this weekend.

We started our fireplace makeover which I am so stoked about! We finalized our mantel plans and started the task of making a level surface on the stone. Here’s the thing about DIY projects…they teach you patience! I am always reminding my kids to be patient. I think pretty much daily around here. I consider myself a somewhat patient person, but I am so anxious to start tiling! The thing is– we can’t rush the prep part. It’s the foundation of our entire project. We have to build a completely flat and level surface before we can start the tiling and it’s taking time. We started Saturday morning with high hopes we’d be tiling by Sunday. Well, that hasn’t happened. We finally are seeing the light at the end of the tunnel and should be able to start tomorrow, but it was quite a process to get the surface ready!


So in-between wait times on the fireplace, I finally made some design decisions. Do you remember our hallway I had started? Well, the doors are painted, the trim and baseboards are installed, but it’s not done. I was having some lighting issues. The first fixture I ordered I ended up returning. I was hoping to find something fab around the local thrifting scene, but haven’t had any luck. So, I decided yesterday to order another fixture. Fingers-crossed this one is a winner! I also tried to find a mirror for my fireplace, but I decided I am going to DIY one so I drew up plans for that too.

We had a couple of trips up to Wisconsin in October and got to check out some shops. Here’s a few of our latest finds that have made their way inside our home.

I found this new little deer buddy at TJ Maxx for $5.99. I think he will make a perfect key hook in our entry way.



While at the cabin, I snagged a bundle of birch logs for $3. I love them. Growing up, my Grandma always had some by her fireplace.



I also added to my plaid stadium blanket collection with this one for $13. Never seen it before, it’s going to be my go-to outdoor blanket for bonfire nights.



Switching gears to holiday time, I found these awesome appetizer plates at Target the other day as I was doing my grocery shopping of course! I’m glad I needed batteries on the other side of the store and saw these on my way. The set is priced at $19.99 which is pretty darn good.



This pair of vintage brass deer were  only $6 at an antique store. I think we’re on a mission to see how many gold animals we can fit on our bookcases. If you think they are just decorative they are not, I assure you! Sam on a daily basis plays with them. So, you see,  they are pretty and serve a purpose. That’s how I justify adding to the gold animal menagerie.



I also have been thinking about holiday time, so I brought the sequins pillow back out. It’s not new, but has been in storage since last Christmas. I can’t help myself, but it’s going to be a gold, silver, and black Christmas again! I love to change things up, but I haven’t tired of this combo yet for holiday time.



I may even do a holiday craft today if I get the time!

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