Framing Huge Art for $30

It’s that time of year again…Weather is perfect…Campsites are being reserved…And the last thing we want to do is be stuck at home…California is calling us…  

  

  

  

 Which is why it was kismet to find an enormous map of California at the Sacramento antique fair. I’ve been wanting one for our guest room/office for the past year. There are so many places to camp, enjoy, and discover in our home state that I wanted to mark off the travel bucket list. This map will be a visual tracker of our progress and very cool art piece. 

Plus maps seem to look fabulous against (already painted) baby blue walls… 

 (An example from the amazingly talented Emily Henderson’s guest room) Well, I’ve got blue walls too why doesn’t it look the same? Ours just looks sad?!

 I quickly realized the map needed a smooth backing and frame to finish it off. Yet to custom frame a map like this would cost me hundreds of dollars…So in the budget conscious style of LHBD we faked it. 

Here’s how we did it… (This is also super temporary should you be renting or just like to change your art around constantly)

  We bought some very thin cabinet backer board cut by Home Depot to the dimensions of the map. Then duct taped the two pieces together.   Command strips were our friend, lots and lots of them, all over the back of the boards. 

 Then stuck the boards to the wall. 

We hung the map using poster (light weight) command strips flattening it against the boards. 

 We then found pvc/faux wood baseboard at Home Depot.  

  Much cheaper than wood, lightweight, and very easy to cut the angles for the frame.    Next we used the scotch indoor mounting tape for the back of the frame pieces.  (Now if you’re renting we can’t guarantee this tape won’t take a bit of paint away. However a couple finishing nails at the corners and command strips may have the same results) 

Voila! Giant framed art for $30! 

 We can’t wait to start marking off the locations we’ve been, dog friendly places we’ve stayed and campsites to swoon over. Hopefully you have fun vacations planned for the summer and memories to make! Happy Sunday everyone!

What a BIG, DIY Sunburst Mirror for $15?! 

I’ve been hiding a diy project for months…(Well, not really) Rather it has been like a ninja, hiding out in the background, waiting for its chance on the blog. Some may have noticed it here:  

 

Then here: 

 

And like a ninja, it’s cloaked in mystery. .. Everyone  assumes we either bought it at some high end furniture store or its an authentic antique from the 1960s…   

  (When in reality, I had only $15 to spend and needed another diy decoration for our Mad Men party.)

This big, sunburst mirror had very humble beginnings, and started out like this: 

 

A huge $10 thrift store mirror (bought at half price), kabob sticks, some rustoleum gold metallic spray paint and my glue gun. 

One rainy, cold day, when the pups and us were trapped indoors, I thought I’d attempt this mind numbing project. I’d seen the diy sunburst mirror made from paint sticks and wood shims but really hesitant to try with kabob sticks. Maybe because this might have something to do with it… 

 

And this…(an hour later)…

 

The actual project is really simple and easy, but I recommend watching a marathon of your favorite TV show when attempting to hot glue hundreds of kabob sticks. 

As you can see I had traced out a star pattern on the back as a guide. Once all the glue had dried, Eric helped me spray paint it. We taped the actual mirror surface with painters tape to avoid spraying it gold. (Warning: large mirrors like this with pointed wooden sticks are incredibly awkward and somewhat heavy to try moving and hang by yourself– also one of the reasons we didn’t get a chance to take pictures) 

Now we have our big, diy, faux designer Sunburst mirror to go along with our big, diy, faux midcentury buffet😉

 

Honestly the mirror was intended as 1960s party decor but I think we’ll keep it up for awhile. (It’s grown on me) Plus it looks just elegant enough to be mistaken for a Z gallery or pier 1 design. (Not kabob sticks held together with hot glue) Happy Sunday everyone! 

Party Favors for Bachlorette/Bachelor, Weddings and Adult Birthday Parties—DIY “Hangover Kits” with Free Printable

Dont deny it, as kids one of the best things about parties was the party favor we got to take home at the end.

When we first decided on a Mad Men themed charity dinner, we knew we needed to pass out “thank you” favors for all the guests who donated. We had a prize raffle drawing, but needed a little “fun”  adult favor to show our appreciation.

Surfing pinterest for an upcoming Bachlorette party I discovered “hangover kits” were a  neat way to round out a long weekend. A scaled down, mini version would be perfect for our Mad Men party.  

As promised here is the little How-to for these adult party favors. As well as the free (and customizable) printables so you can recreate them for your event.

Firstly all the items were bought on Amazon and/or at our local grocery store.

The kit includes Advil, a packet of instant coffee, some life saver breath mints, and a box of matches with the label “At times like this what would Don Draper do?”

People asked me why matches? Well for one, they were just so fun to customize, and perfect for our Mad Men themed party. The second, (I will try to explain this as delicately as possible), did your old school grandpa ever tell you there is a box of matches in the bathroom?😉( a hold over from the depression and WWII, but still an effective technique) Just say’in, and just in case…

Either way customizing match boxes is one of the easiest projects for your themed party. Just print, cut and stick. Theses labels print perfectly on the Avery address labels 5162

Here is the free matchbox printable: MAD MEN Labels Don Draper

You will need to cut them to the size of your match boxes. However I just used my cricut straight cut, peeled them from the backing and stuck them on the match boxes.

  

The second printable for the favor bag, you will be able to customize your name and event, but these are also printed on Avery 5162 labels.  No cutting necessary but you may need to ensure your favor bags are large enough for these labels. (I had extra bags leftover from my wedding or I’d provide more details, but they can be purchased at most craft stores)

Here is the Hangover Kit Printable (minus our initials and events info)

  

Then we just packed them all full of “goodies” and were passed out at the party. You can also customize the favor goodies, such as attaching them to mini water bottles, adding starbucks gift cards, including cold packs and/or cheap sunglasses etc. (Anything that might help a hungover friend the next day😉)

 However for our little shindig these were perfect. Easy, simple, and budget friendly, we were glad to provide our friends with a little laugh and a big thank you. Hope your next adult event is amazing! Happy Sunday everyone!

“Mad” for a Cure…Hosting a Mad Men Party and Private Charity Dinner! 

This post has been pulling on my heart strings for the past week. I will admit there were tears, and definitely deep gratitude to our amazing friends and family. Five years ago we made a promise, during one of the hardest times of our lives, to pay it forward. We didn’t know how we would do it, but we just would. 

Four months ago I reminded the hubs of our “karmic” promise of paying it forward and asked him what we should do? Surprisingly my very private, anti-party, husband came up with the idea of hosting a charity dinner…[Gasp] Did the world just turn upside down?!...Not really, he called my love for party planning, my “evil super power“, and that it should be used for good deeds.

Challenge accepted! 😉

Hence our Mad Men Charity Dinner came to be!

We used our “secret” five year wedding anniversary as an excuse to party.

 As “gifts” we asked friends and family to donate to two of our favorite charities: The Leukemia Lymphoma Society and the SAMFund. Most are familiar with LLS, but very few know of the SAMFund, it’s one of the very few direct grant charities for cancer patients/survivors; financially assisting those with medical debt, medication expenses, utilities, etc. (Because getting to “cancer free”, isn’t free.) 

This is where our friends and family were amazing (and I tear up)…Just from our little “shindig” and, those who couldn’t attend, we raised $3000.00 of direct and indirect donations! (The post office clerk thought I was probably insane when I mailed all the checks this week…Mascara running down my cheeks and “ugly crying” from tears of gratitude) 

Now let me stop with the mushy stuff (or the water works will start all over again) and let’s get on to the fun party details, Mad Men decor and a little harmless “debauchery”, circa 1960s…





Thrift store entrance signs and  gold flamingos on the lawn. A “must” for any Mad Men party (found pink flamingos at Ross and spray painted all of them with Rustoleums gold metallic paint) 

First off, to those following our little blog, know I’m a Midcentury addict and lover of vinyl records. Any excuse to bring out my collection of vintage serving and barware, or play some records is my “bag” baby😉





We offered a sparkling gin punch, all the fixings for Manhattans, Mai Tais, Martinis and Lemon drops. Tony Bennett, and Brazil 66 played in the background. 



Beer, wine, sparkling apple cider, coke in bottles, and water were all outside. To  keep tummies from rumbling we filled two large jars full of peanuts and Chex mix. Our guests could fill paper trays and serve themselves snacks. 







Decorating was sooo much fun! I found tons of vintage ads, put them in dollar store frames and displayed them around each table. I scored a 1960s Betty Crocker “Dinner for Two” cookbook at a garage sale, for our guests to sign. 

 As a way to say thank you to our guests we had a raffle drawing. For every dollar donated guests received a raffle ticket for a chance to win prizes. Also everyone received “gag” thank you gifts/party favors ~Hangover Kits (we’ll have the free printables and details for the kits next blog post)





Dinner” started as heavy on the appetizers; cheese plate, dips, and small bites. We were sure to stay true to the era and included, Swedish meatballs, a molded dip, relish trays, stuffed celery with pimentos, deviled eggs, rolled salami bites, Hawaiian rolls, ham, wedge salads, etc. By 9pm as our family tradition, we had pizzas delivered to help absorb the alcohol😉





Dessert was cupcakes I decorated with gummies rolled and skewered into “martini olives” and bubble gum cigarettes “stubbed out” with chocolate sprinkles



We offered bubble gum cigarettes displayed throughout the house, along with my collection of vintage books, magazines and vinyl records. 





I resurrected a 1960s Polaroid land camera. We found film and I was able to snap a few photos before the sun went down. 



Little brother hamming it up for the camera “Don Draper” style 😉



The party was mainly outside, (and where most of the fun happened). Thank  goodness for perfect weather, since our little house was at max capacity. However we tried not to disappoint by decorating the backyard. 





My friend who owns a thrift store lent us some vintage lamps which we used for accents and just to add ambience.



We created centerpieces from thrift store cocktail shakers, and green mums. 

 Now onto my favorite part…Our guests! One of my best friends has the most darling Etsy shop Lenore Loves where she sells hand made party and event items. She loaned us some fabulous photo booth props for the event and the swanky pictures speak for themselves!





Oh and the pics get even better…We have the most glamorous friends and family…





Seriously this is one of my favorite pictures of the night…





We are so, so, so thankful to our guests and all the generous giving! We hoped to provide them one outstanding party and a little inspiration to others. Maybe host your own charity event and “Party” Forward for a good cause?

When our houses are small or maybe not fully renovated, we are sometimes intimidated to host parties. Yet with a little kitsch, a whole lot of inspiration and good guests your party is bound to be a success! Happy Sunday everyone! 


Happy Monday! Jute wrapped pendant light, late blog post and some “mad” mischief…

Happy Monday everyone! Wait?! What a Monday morning post?! 

I have the day off recovering from some “Mad” mischief. For those who have been following us on Instagram you may have seen some of the pics already. For those who aren’t, here is a little hint…



Oh yeah, still cleaning today…But well worth the stiff muscles and ahem headache😉 More surprises and pics to come next Sunday…

As for this week here is the promised post about our jute wrapped hanging pendant from our guest house…



As all you dear friends know I can’t sew, loathe knitting, and can barely crochet. I wish I could but my little attention span is reserved for hot glue, sawing wood, and electrical wiring. As much as I wish, I can’t spare any for the fine art of macrame or the sewing arts. But…I can tie a knot…lots of knots especially when watching a marathon of Mad Men😉 (l still had to untie several knots and start over but I got through it)



Basically the project is really simple, find a pendant light you love, a large spool of jute (usually sold at your local craft stores) and lots of patience. The knot is the pretty standard- “tie your shoe” kind as well.





Here is a really fabulous how to on tying the knots, courtesy of Design Sponge, but ours is adapted to only one kind of jute, (and no hot glue). 

 Hope you all have an amazing day! We’ll see you all next weekend with fun photos! Happy Sun–err Monday everyone! 

Guest House and Concrete Counters: Finally a Before & After! 

Have you ever had a project you ignored, detested, put off or just wished you never started in the first place? (The one project you so desperately wanted to call the professionals for) Our neglected guest house was that project…

Aptly referred to as “The Cave”, the studio apartment above our garage just creeped me out. Someone even lived and cooked up there at some point during the previous ownership. How do I know this?…Grease, food stains, mold, dirt, etc.

(Also I was the one doing the massive clean up, painting, decorating, exorcising spiders and the ghosts of owners past.)

First step (in the very drawn out) guest house project was basic clean up and painting party. This was back in the summer of 2012, right after move in. My good friends Amber, Maggie and I all got “high” on oil based primer one evening as we tried to cover the nasty paneling. 

Those ladies were troopers! It was awful! Even with ventilation and masks we all got horrible paint headaches. It took two coats of primer and three coats of basic latex paint to prevent the orange stain from bleeding through. (Even three years later, I think I still owe them a couple more dinners to make it up to them😉) 

Then post wedding, and main house craziness; new roof, water heaters, plumbing, etc. The guest house became just a neglected storage space. Yet in the last three years we kept moving forward, (albeit very, very slowly) towards making it livable. 

Since our main house is only two bedrooms, we desperately wanted a cheery, space our family and friends would love to stay in (and not go running for the nearby Holiday Inn)

We also L-O-V-E the sea and dream of owning a coastal retreat someday. We’ve collected, and were given so much “beach house” decor that decorating the guest house in the style seemed perfect. 

Only in the last month, the need for a guest house (and extra bathroom) has become a necessity. Therefore we put our efforts into overdrive; replacing the water heater, installing light fixtures, adding concrete countertops, deep, deep cleaning, decorating, etc. (even adding those aforementioned accent pillows😉) 

Now here are those much awaited “Before & After” pics!…

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Here are some more fun “after” pics…(our glass bottle lamp now has a home!)

(My attempt at a panoramic pic of the guest house)


We also added these floating wine box shelves…

We’ll be sure to include a little “how to” on our jute wrapped pendant light in the coming weeks.

We do have a few more projects in store for this guest house; new hardwood floors, a new ac, new stairs and deck, etc. However our little budget does not match our big wish list so those projects will be on hold. (Hopefully not another three years though😉)

Also I need to convert the bed back to a pull-out King, but that will require an extra mattress and more Ikea slats. For now, a twin bed will do the job when younger brothers occasionally crash at our place. Yet I can’t wait to have it completely ready as a private retreat for our friends and family. (More on creating “Hotel LHBD” for another post)

We’re just so glad to finally have a clean, cheerful guest house and no longer “The Cave”. Happy Sunday everyone!

When You Don’t Have Cabinet Doors… DIY Rope and Dowel Curtain Brackets with No Sew Cabinet Skirt

When you can’t clean the grime, then sometimes it’s better to throw it out…



Which is what I had to do with the old cabinet doors from our neglected guest house kitchenette. (Where even oil based primer refused to stick to them) 

So here we are now, concrete countertops done, and no cabinet doors…



We literally didn’t want to spend a cent on this project (especially after a recent splurge on accent pillows😉) Luckily we already had extra curtain panels from our oar curtain rods so a “no-sew vanity skirt” seemed to be a good idea (plus it would be free). With that in mind I rooted around the house for some kind of bracket or dowel to hang a vanity skirt. Dowels I found…Brackets I did not, but I found rope…

With a little creativity and lots of hot glue, I set to work on making looped brackets out of rope. 



I used the dowel as a guide and glued the loops of rope together. 



Then cut the ends off. I created the four loops and then drilled them in place with screws. The dowels slipped in snugly.



Next came the no sew vanity skirt. Disclaimer: I DO NOT SEW. You will see very few projects on LHBD that require a sewing machine. I literally have broken every sewing machine I’ve ever touched. (Also I think the person who invented Stitch Witchery tape was a genius. I always keep a roll in the house)

Basically I measured out the cabinet space, then using a straight edge, cut the curtains to size. 



I made sure to use existing corners that were already sewn. Then folded the cut sides over and adhered them with Stitch Witchery and an iron on steam.



Basically the curtains slipped right on the dowels and we have no sew “cabinet skirts”.

Beachy, easy and above all free! Can’t wait to show you all the before & after pics of our guest house next week. Happy Sunday everyone! 

Are We Done Yet?! (Guest House Concrete Countertops Semi-Reveal) 

We started 10 days ago with a “hot mess”~I mean blank canvas…

(Like the light pinkish/grayish painted vanity?)





Also the  kitchenette to our very neglected guest house/apartment above the garage.

 All original from the previous owners and literally never touched by us. A nasty combo of grease coated, rusted out, painted over, sticky back linoleum, vinyl, wood and laminate surfaces. (Seriously I was two seconds away from calling our plumber and having both the bathroom sink and kitchenette torn out.) I thought the job impossible. 

Only Eric knew to make me a deal. If concrete wouldn’t work I get new vanities. But if it does work I get Carte Blanche on the decor budget. Which would mean…(what he hates the most)…Accent Pillows! Lots and lots of accent pillows!😄 Deal accepted! 

 This indeed would be the ultimate concrete countertop challenge. Especially when we didn’t have a complete Encore countertop kit! Yikes! (More on that later)

So here is where we started…Cleaning 10+ years worth of gunk. 



Like our last concrete project, Encore kitchen countertops, we knew to horde cardboard and stockpiling 3m painters tape. Next came repairing parts of the counter. (Ie re-gluing  down peel and stick linoleum) 



(And when you don’t have enough clamps, bricks work just fine) 😉

As I mentioned before we did not have a full Encore countertop kit available this time around. We were missing the actual concrete. Instead we had just a leftover gallon of superbond and the Proseal/activator concrete sealant. Therefore I took a gamble (because accent pillows were on the line) and picked up some Henrys feather finish at Home Depot. I also tested the combo out on a piece of scrap board:



Superbond and Henrys feather finish…They went together like peanut butter and jelly. However I must admit,  I prefer working with the Encore kit. Their concrete was easier to control, smoother/fluid and a bit more durable as it dries. (Which is another reason why the project took so long, I wasn’t experienced working with this brand of concrete and more sanding was required between layers.) Yet it all came together, so we were confident enough to tackle the counters. 

First layer of superbond…



Layer two of superbond and right before sanding…



Also quick reminder…Don’t forget to remove all the painters tape before the last coat of superbond dries. This will help immensely with clean sharp lines. 

Next came the Henrys feather finish concrete and concrete sealer…





This time we’re not delving into all the details and steps on our countertops as we did here. Unfortunately we don’t have perfect “after” photos yet. We still have to silicone seal the sinks and clean before final photos can be shot. Overall so glad to check this one off the list!😀…Now I’m off! I have accent pillows to buy! Happy Sunday Everyone!

Psst!..This is our 100th blog post today! And we’re finally on Instagram! Follow our guest house progress and check out the sneak peeks. 

Spring Has Sprung! (Unless you Live in California, then it  was Back in January)

We were hoping to share our latest foray into concrete countertops…



…But it just wasn’t meant to be. 

I should know by now that no DIY project goes according to plan.(Especially when you tell all your readers ahead of time-then its a sure thing your project will run over schedule) So instead of showing you our new concrete counters in the guest house, we’ll distract you with pictures of pretty flowers…





Yes we’ve been in full bloom out here in California since January. Lovely weather but unfortunately we all are expecting a long hot summer. (No really the east coast should start selling us snow, we’re in a water crisis over here) 

In the meantime we’ve  taken the opportunity to add a few new flowers and finish another unfinished project that has sat around since last spring. Like these hanging baskets…



Which have been hanging around without any plants, and just collecting leaves all through the winter. (Project procrastination” it’s a real sickness people)

Last year we were so busy landscaping our drought tolerant, “dog proof” backyard, I’d forgotten about the baskets in the sideyard.  

One thing we’ve learned with our dogs is that they are magnets to new plants and fresh soil. (Especially soil mixed with manure – they go nuts for the smell) Therefore we’ve learned to plant “up”. Whether that be with tall pots or hanging baskets, the technique keeps curious wet noses out of our plants. Also when you do plant “up” it means you can add not so “pet friendly” plants to your garden. Like jasmin, lilies and begonias, which may be poisonous to dogs. 



Although the jasmin was not planted in a basket (the papyrus died so we had an extra tall pot sitting vacant) We instead wrapped it with green chicken wire to keep the dogs out. Also the sideyard is shaded  and sheltered enough for the lillies and begonias withstand the summer heat. To conserve water/moisture we’ll probably add mulch to all the pots and baskets. 

We still have more updates for the sideyard and cleaning  up but it feels good to cross another unfinished project off the list.



This area is still one our favorite places to sit in the shade. Now you’ll know where I’m drinking my coffee this morning and beating  the spring heat. Happy Sunday everyone! 

Lights, Water Heater, Arbor…Action!

We stumbled unintentionally onto another “blog series”…Its called finishing projects…



(This second lamp sat in a box for two years and we finally installed it this weekend)

Every home dweller can relate to the unending list of projects or house maintenance. We often ignore certain issues and take the road of “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. Only when something is glaringly ugly and/or integral breaks do we call the handyman or pull out the hammer. 

I am soooo guilty of project procrastination. Literally I kept a Big Lots arbor for 6 years and only until this week put it together…Yeah it’s that bad…



So why the sudden change and working on projects that have sat around? (some apparently for years) Well we have a deadline of sorts. In only a month we need to decorate a few rooms, do some major spring cleaning, and finish the unfinished…And there is no better motivation to knock out pesky house projects than giving yourself a deadline right? (Just as long as you’re not giving yourself an ulcer too😉) 

I wish we had an amazing project or fabulous “after” reveal but to be honest, this week has been spent schlepping boxes of stuff to goodwill. The guest room/office is in complete chaos as we’re trying to reconfigure it for more usable space. Also we can finally walk through the guest house without tripping on camping gear or college textbooks (oh yeah we said goodbye to three boxes of our undergrad books! Happy Day!😊)

Unfortunately our only “after” reveal was replacing this rusted out 70s style outdoor light with a brand new “beachy” style one from homed depot. 





As well we’ve finally replaced our second water heater (in the guest house) Another boring maintenance project but necessary. In two years since we’ve bought our home we’ve replaced two water heaters. I’m hoping now that I will not have to budget for new ones within the next 10 years. (Grrr…money that could’ve been spent on new flooring)



Yet having running hot water for guests is probably a good thing. We’re also setting up for (hopefully) another concrete countertop project. This time we’re tackling a mini bar, and bathroom. I’m crossing fingers that we’ll be done by next Sunday. Especially since countdown is now 30 days away! Yikes gotta get back to work! 

Unlike us, we hope you have an amazing weekend full of fun times. Don’t be like us kids, just say no to project procrastination. Or you end up digging holes and shoveling mulch on your Sunday. #TakeBackYourWeekends people! Happy Sunday everyone!