Before and After: bathroom mirror


Wow, somehow, a LOT OF TIME went by since my last post! Partly due to procrastination, partly due to *someone* convincing me I needed to start working out! There are only so many hours in the day, and if I’m working out, I’m not fixing things!

My plan for the weekend was to paint the patio, but the temperature is just too cold, the paint would not stick. So instead, I finished a project I have been planning for months and months: framing my bathroom mirror.

The Before:

Practical, but oh so ugly.

And now the After:

This, my friends, was easy-peasy AND super cheap! 3 pieces of baseboard molding at 7$ a pop, 2 cans of high-gloss black paint at 8$ each and about 1 hour of work (plus drying time). First I took the baseboards outside and painted 2 coats over  couple of hours. Then I measured carefully. But the truth it, it’s very forgiving. The trick is to cut perfect 45 degree angles, using a mitre box, as so:

Once I had one piece measured for the top, I marked the bottom piece to match. Then I cut one side piece and marked the other side piece to match. 4 flat L brackets and tiny screws to hold the corners, and I installed the entire thing using the double-sided velcro picture strips from 3M, since it’s super light. Finally, my mirror is framed!

The bead-board backsplash makeover


wow, how did 2.5 weeks go by without a post? Oh I know! I’ve been DOING things and not posting them! My biggest issue is pictures… I want the blog to showcase my work in the best possible way, which means nice pictures. But In truth, I don’t always have my camera, and when I do, I don’t always upload the pics to my computer… Why can’t they make a good SLR that uploads by Blue-Tooth??? Anyhow, I have pictures, they are in the computer, so here you go!

This is the country house back-splash before. Some of you might like it. It was probably very trendy and fancy in 1994 when it was installed. I don’t like textured ceramic. And that sunburst drove me insane.

So off to Home Depot I went and purchased panelling… yes, the stuff people keep ripping OFF their walls, I put some up! Grant it, it’s not the ugly brown with grooves, but rather white bead-board, pretend wainscoting. In order to keep it simple, I made newspaper templates of all the sections. This kept me from needing to measure and make tons of notes. I just taped and folded the newspaper to fit exactly all the different parts of the wall around my counter:

I took my templates back to the city, where I cut the pieces in my basement. This was rather messy, as the material makes a TON of dust. So I am quite glad I did it where I did. Also, it made bringing the pieces back to the country so much easier, as the largest piece was only about 2.5 feet long and 18 inches high.

To install them, I used No-more-nails. I am not going for long-term permanent installation here. I am trying to cover up the ugly tile, brighten the room and make it look pretty for re-listing. Let the future owners figure out a better solution that will fit with their taste!

I did use a few nails here and there to hold the pieces while the glue was setting. And at the end, I sealed all the edges and the seams between pieces with white silicone. I think I might want to put a coat of white paint over the whole thing, but it actually works as is for now.



Before and After – Wallpapering my stairs


Lest you think that I have completely given up on doing things myself around here, I had what I like to call a Project Day today. First, I cut all the beadboard panels for what will be the new backsplash at the country house (come back for that one!). Then, I grabbed a roll of wallpaper and redid my stairrisers.

Close your eyes. OK, actually, don’t, because you need to keep reading. But picture your house stairs in your mind. Not the walls around the stairs, but the stairs themselves. Are they pretty? I’m going to take a wild guess and say no. If you are really lucky, you have dark wood and white risers. I remember at the last house, when I painted the risers. The internet went wild! How could I paint hard wood? Actually, I think it was more painting all the mouldings than the risers, but still.

In the last 2 months, I have become OBSESSED with staircases. Why don’t we do more to our stairs? Stairs can be so pretty! Check out the Pinterest board I created!

Ok. Are you back? great! Some of you might remember my wallpaper saga of 4 years ago. The Russians hung my hard-to-get UK wallpaper at a 5 degree angle, driving me totally batty in the process. I got them to buy me new rolls of the same wallpaper, but never re-hung it because I was so scared! Then we moved and I found a very elderly Polish gentleman who did not speak English or French but hung my wallpaper with such precision that I had 2 rolls left. Since the wallpaper is in the front hall, I thought it would be nice to carry the color towards the upstairs by wallpapering the risers. Here are the before and afters:




















See? Don’t you want to go up the After with a spring in your step? It was SUPER easy and very quick. I used about 1/2 a roll of wallpaper and 1/2 a gallon of Border and Repair Glue (not actual wallpaper glue, the special stuff for borders).

Because my stairs are 40″ wide, I could not cut the wall paper in the standard direction. So I measured my riser height (5.5″) and cut very long strips sideways on the roll. I cut those strips down to 40″. So technically, the wallpaper is hung on it’s side. If you have a particular pattern in mind, you need to be mindful of this.

I put the paste on the back of the strips and ‘booked’ them for 5 min. That just means letting the glue settle into the paper. Because I was doing it on high-traffic stairs, I also brushed on some glue onto the risers before applying the paper. Then, it was about 1 second of adjusting the paper in place and rubbing it in with a small plastic spatula (the kind I usually use for putty).

I have a lot of suggestions for doing this:

  • if you are staging your house, this is a way to spruce up your stairs and make people want to go see what you have upstairs, all for under 40$
  • if you have debated painting your risers white but were afraid to commit, buy a roll of the paintable white wallpaper and put it up. You can live with it as is, or if you decide to commit to painting, these strips will come off very easily.
  • you could easily do this with fabric. I would probably spray it with sizing first to make the edges sharper when cutting them.
  • Mix and match! some of the pins on my board alternate patterns. You could use 2 complimentary patterns, or mix up a bunch of scrapbooking papers and go wild!

For your enjoyement, here are a few pics of the ‘During’ process

Ubercrafty in New Jersey: Will Work For Wine

kitchen 1 after

Unless this is the very first time you read one of my posts, you will know by now that I have a ‘penchant’ for wine as we say in French. Combine that with a 3-night stay at my friend’s in Jersey during my annual work-play trip to the NYIGF and you have got a serious fun time on your hands. To pay for my room and board and copious amounts of red wine, I agreed to make Mrs. Figby some kitchen blinds. Instead of taking you step by step, I will first point you to her blog. Go read it, I’ll wait here….

For the record, I was not hung over, just slightly dehydrated.

We were working from this tutorial that she found online.

Let me just tell you how I tweaked it to make it work for us:

  • I don’t glue, I sew. So we measured the windows and added 2 inches on each side for seam allowance and sewed those down. I added an inch at the top, which eventually got hot glued to the very top of the mini-blind header. And I added 5 inches to the bottom: 4 inches for a large reverse hem and 1 inch to fold over. Since the first slat is installed at the edge of the 5 inches, we got a really nice heavy bottom to the blinds when they are up and they hang perfectly over the ledge of the window when they are down.
  • I didn’t glue the slats as per the tutorial. Instead, I took scraps of fabric and made 2 inch strips that were less wide then the over all blinds. Then I sewed these on to the back where I wanted to slide in the slats, much more like a traditional construction of roman blinds. It took longer than gluing them on, but the finished product is that much stronger and more polished. If you had a plain fabric or a pattern that would not be disturbed by pleating, you could just cut your blinds 2 inches longer for each slat you want to put in and make pockets in the back. For the record, the small windows have slats every 8 inches and the large windows have slats every 9.5 inches. Don’t ask my why I decided that, I guesstimated the first ones and decided we should have the same number of slats on the second one.
  • The one annoying thing is that the inexpensive mini-blinds only came with right-hand ropes. If I were to this for my house, I would hunt around for either reversable blinds or try to find some used ones that have a right and a left-hand rope to have the ropes on the outside. Luckily for me, my *client* didn’t seem to mind!

before and afters, for your enjoyment!



The cottage floor, before, after and after-after


For 7 years the floor at the cottage was stained brown and totally scratched. It was worn when we bought it, and 7 years of country life with kids and dogs didn’t help it. 2 weeks ago, I moved the furniture to one side, grabbed a couple of gallons of deck/balcony paint in paper cotton white and put on 3 coats. Then I moved all the furniture to the OTHER side, put an other 3 coats and waited a week….
Last weekend we put everything back. The entire house was SO much brighter! But I didn’t *love* the kitchen… it was a bit flat… luckily, with a striped floor pin on one of my pinterest boards and 3 old paint cans from previous projects, I managed to give it exactely the right look!

Now…. I have a great idea for that ugly backplash.

Rescued Telephone Bench


A few months back, my husband and I were driving in the car when I jumped out at a red light and shoved this in the truck of his car:


It was so…. worn out! But the lady in the car behind us, who had to wait while I closed the truck, gave me a big thumbs up and didn’t even honk when she almost missed the light!

So this beauty has been in my basement for months, waiting for it’s makeover. I really didn’t know where I was going to put it, so I wasn’t sure how to re-finish it. But then last week, out of nowhere, I realised there was nothing on the stair landing. Nowhere for my kids to put down something they was to remember to bring down in the morning… So that would be it’s home, and thus, I knew what to do with it.

First, I took it apart. Oh the glamorous side of re-upholstery.
ImageA Coat of primer helped a lot:


And here it is, in the landing, all dressed up and awaiting the library books that will surely find their way on it at night. I’m thinking of printing a picture of the finished product, putting it in a thank you card and dropping it off at the house where I got it….


Before and After: BB’s room and new roman blinds

Once upon a time at the Kibutz of the North, we had a bonus space, a mezzanine above the living room:


Take one very handy brother and his contractor-friend, slap up some walls, add a window on the staircase side to keep the staircase from becoming a dungeon, punch a hole on the living room side tolet in some light and hang some wodden shutters to make it easy to close at night when mommy and daddy are watching TV and you have a perfect little room for a perfect little girl.

For a while, there were vintage circus-themed curtains, but they were useless for keeping out the early morning sun and they were way too baby-ish for this now very big girl….

IMG_7907 (really, those are just embarrassing!)

We happened to have an IKEA comforter cover still in the package. We liked the colors, but it too had childish animals on one end as a border. We are planning on getting her a big bed next week, but I think we can do better as far as comforter cover goes. However, the fabric was great, the colors were perfect for the rooms, so I hacked off the animal border, lined it with an old orange curtain panel and we now have roman blinds that look like fun summer awnings. And a finished room, minus the big girl bed.


she likes it. She really likes it.


Before and After: BB’s Dresser

Poor Beach Ball. Stuck with hand-me downs all the time. Her first winter here at the country house, she didn't have a bedroom… she had to bunk with us, with her crib in the corner of our room. But this summer, my brother took the rather useless Mezzanine Den (which is right above the living room, thus useless) and walled it in to create the smallest yet super cozy bedroom for Beach Ball.

Since having her room, we've painted it a cheery yellow but that's about it, it's remained unadorned. We were sort of waiting for her to graduated from crib-as-a-bed to full-size bed before seeing what else we could fit in there, but poor kid really needed a dresser. I tried my best to find her a cool vintage piece that I could fix up, but the good antique places aren't opened in the winter and frankly, it could not wait til next summer.

So here you have the before, a 100$ WallyWorld pressed board atrocity


Add 2 hours of my time, a pair of scissors, one sheet of pretty wrapping paper and a jar of modge-podge and we have a much less atrocious storage solution:


I know it's hard to tell by the crappy picture, but it's a cherry-blossom of sorts.

Doing it with style!

Again, get your mind out of the gutter!

No, I’m talking about sprucing things up around here a little… It all started with the attention my telephone bench re-do got. It may show up somewhere in the near future, but the lovely people on that blog asked me to take a new picture and "style it a little". So I took everything I knew from design shows, magazines and my recent photo class and came up with a more stylish way to present my telephone bench:

Aafter_styled1_1 Aafter_styled3_3_2

Clearly, I don’t live like this! The perfectly draped alligator scraf (incomplete, still needs finishing!), the carefully placed baby rain boots (5 sizes too small for anyone in this house!), but it does make a super cute vignette!

And it inspired me to spruce things up around the old craft blog, starting with a masthead I made myself! Aren’t you impressed? I’m not Photoshop expert, but a little creativity goes a long way.