New kitchen hardware. Oh, and I’m back!

Tap.Tap.Tap. Is this thing on?

I’m back! I am here, it’s a new year, and I’m ready to connect with earth again. It’s been a long few months and I apologize profusely for the unexpected disappearance. I don’t want to get into a lot of bummer reasons why I disappeared from the face of the earth (or at least the internet) for a few months because this blog is my happy place and is meant to inspire people. However. Having said that, I do feel like I owe some type of explanation because abruptly leaving for several months with zero notice is just downright rude. I am sorry.

I’m coming up on my blogging 5 year anniversary, and for the last year or so I just haven’t been feeling it as much. Most of this is due to insecurities on my part, but another huge factor that has bummed me out about blogging is the direction that blogging has gone the past few years. Blogging used to be really fun. Bloggers were friends with each other. The community was relatively small and felt pretty inclusive, except for maybe a small elitist acting group that I tried to just ignore. The world of blogging has grown so rapidly that now there are literally thousands of niche blogs in the DIY/home/craft area alone, and it has left me feeling like there is no point in me having a voice online because everything has already been said by someone else. That coupled with the growing need to promote your blog like a crazy person which includes taking magazine quality photos and staging your house like a museum, left me totally discouraged and wondering what the point was anymore. Yes, I threw a huge year-long pity party for myself.

These negative thoughts of feeling like I just wasn’t good enough and couldn’t cut it in the dog-eat-dog blog world PLUS the over-saturation of promotional and sponsored posts on every single freaking blog I was reading just had me pretty much over it. I tried for a long time to be authentic and treat my blog like I did back in the early days before sponsors and pinterest. I dropped all but one sponsor from my blog, and tried to just get back to the shack (Weezer reference there!), back to a place where I loved what I was doing. Doing this helped me feel more authentic, but it also made me feel extremely alienated from the blogging community.

So I took a break. I just unplugged my computer and only logged in long enough to approve a few comments every couple of weeks. I allowed enough time to pass without eating, sleeping, and breathing all things blog to clear my head and figure out what I really want. I’ve thought a lot about the blog. I’ve considered just quitting blogging, but I really don’t want to do that.

I want to continue to write content from my heart that hopefully helps and inspires you. I want to keep blogging and just quit worrying about stats. I want to take normal pictures of my normal house and not have to worry about maximum reach on pinterest. I want to not have to worry about how I worded a title for the best SEO, or how to trick facebook into showing my content to more people. I want to be able to say whatever I want to say and not worry that it will offend a current or potential sponsor. I want to not post ads, and sponsored content, and promotional posts constantly. Plowing though dozens of promotional posts in my RSS reader every day pisses me off as a reader. Why on earth would I think my readers would feel any different? I also want to just feel good in my own skin and not so darn insecure about fitting in. Blogging is not high school. I should not worry so much about fitting in, or schmoozing the right people, or rubbing elbows in some private facebook group with the right bloggers.

So I’m quitting all that extra crap. I’m quitting the private facebook groups where we scheme to link and post each others content for maximum exposure. I’m quitting taking magazine quality photos for pinterest. I am not a magazine. I’m quitting worrying about staging my house like a freakin’ museum. A family lives here. We are messy. We run off a budget. I can’t constantly be doing renovations or buying new furniture. And honestly, I have no desire to be constantly neck deep in a renovation. I’m quitting worrying about stats, and reach, and SEO, and analytics.

Will this hurt my blog popularity? Probably. It’s okay though because if quitting all the extra stuff will allow me to focus on what I really love, then it will all be worth it.

I am going to continue to blog because I love DIYing and I love writing. I love interacting with you. I love the friendships I’ve made with a few bloggers, and I want to continue those friendships. As long as you guys are there reading and still getting value from my posts, I will continue to blog.

And now, because it’s just mean to have a Home/DIY blog and not share any photos at all… here are my new kitchen cabinets with shiny new hardware!

I searched for months for the *perfect* hardware for my cabinets. I literally lost sleep over this. I agonized and fretted. Yes, I fretted. It was ridiculous. I may be able to pick out paint, and cabinets, and countertops, and do all sorts of other awesome things, but when it comes to hardware, nope. I just can’t make up my mind.

Finally I saw these basic knobs at Walmart of all places, and they are “Allison” knobs, which is my name with the correct spelling and everything. I took this as a sign and just went with it. Basic boring knobs. And you know what? I love them.

The cabinet maker came back over and installed them for me. He made a mess, but I would have made an even bigger one. I’m just grateful I didn’t have to install them!

He made a template so each knob would be in the exact same spot. It was pretty cool. He even let me keep it afterward in case I want to add knobs in my bathrooms.

So, yup, that is the story of how I finally settled on the most boring hardware in history after months of searching for the perfect knob.

Thanks for taking me back after I was so rude and ditched the internet. Hugs and love to everyone!


How to hang a heavy full-length leaner mirror on the wall

Last November when I hosted a local Kirkland’s grand opening event I found the perfect mirror for my daughter’s room. The mirror has a beveled mirror edge around it and looks glam enough for a tween girl’s bedroom. It is a full-length floor leaner mirror, but I wanted it hung on the wall.

Here’s the pretty beveled edge:

The mirror came with a stand on the back so that it could stand freely on the ground while leaning a bit.

I wanted it hanging on the wall, but the stand on the back was in the way. It also didn’t come with any hanging brackets, so I had to add that as well.

On the under-side of the stand were two very small hinges that I removed with a screwdriver. From there I needed to figure out a way to hang it on the wall.

I bought this cleat picture hanging system on Amazon (affiliate link). It supports more than enough weight for the mirror, plus it allows the mirror to sit almost flush against the wall.

The cleat has two pieces – one attaches to the back of the mirror, and the other attaches to the wall. Installing the cleat was really easy, and it came with pretty short screws which alleviated my concerns about drilling into the back of a mirror. I would be so upset if the mirror had cracked. Fortunately the cleat attached just fine and the mirror stayed intact. No 7 years bad luck for me. Whew.

Before I attached the other piece to the wall, I first added some of my favorite heavy duty wall anchors, EZ Anchors (affiliate link). If I need a wall anchor, I will ONLY use these. They are so easy to use and are so much better than the little crappy ones that usually come with any kit.

From there I attached the 2nd half of the cleat. After that you just hang the mirror directly onto the wall. The cleats hook together and make it instantly secure.

So pretty!

Here’s a wider view so you can see that the mirror is hung between her door and her closet. I am still trying to wrap up loose ends in this room (plug covers, new closet doors, closet makeover, etc).

I really love the elegant mirror paired with the black door and the brushed nickel doorknob.

This is what the mirror looks like from the hall as you walk into her room. The view of it is partially cut off from the door.

After hanging the mirror I decided to go ahead and finish painting the back of her door. Until now most black doors in the house are still white on the opposite side. When I painted all the doors black I mentioned I used satin-finish paint and that I wasn’t very impressed. I’ve been slowly going around adding another coat of paint to all the doors, this time in a semi-gloss finish which I am much happier with. If you look closely you can tell that my daughter’s door has some shine to it but the door in the hallway doesn’t. I haven’t added a new coat of paint to the hallway door yet.

Just adding this fancy mirror is making her room look so much prettier. I’m still in a bit of a limbo as to where to take her room, so I haven’t really done much additional decorating yet aside from all the painting, new ceiling fan, and new blinds. She doesn’t seem to mind though. She’s just happy to finally have a full-length mirror to prance around in front of. She’s a little bit of a fashionista (I can assure you she did not get her love of fashion from me. I proudly buy clothing at Costco. lol).


Craftsman style moulding makes me happy

Hey y’all! How the heck are ya? Hopefully not freezing to death. Even in Austin, where it’s usually H-O-T, it has been so fr-fr-fr-freezing cold I can hardly stand it. I’m so used to hot weather that I pretty much just shut down and hibernate if the temps get below 50 degrees. I seriously cannot stand cold weather! Well, fortunately Saturday the weather gods shined upon us for one glorious day and we had temps in the high 70s. As soon as I felt that warm air, it light a fire under me and I started a project I’ve drooled about for 9 months now.

The last time I mentioned our living room it was because I had finally painted it.

On Saturday I got the DIY bug something fierce and after a quick trip to the hardware store I was loaded up and ready to go with a stack of whitewood. I put up (most of) the craftsman-style moulding around the windows and the door!

To say I am smitten would be an understatement. It is exactly how I pictured it in my head, but at the same time it’s a thousand times better too. I obviously have a lot more work to do including caulking all the seams, filling all the nail holes, and painting it all white. But let’s not focus on that right now. Let’s just focus on how much I freaking love this moulding.

I have been pinning and researching craftsman-style moulding for probably a year now. I just love the look of it. My goal is to craftsman-up this entire house, one 1×4 at a time. It’s a clean square look that is traditional, will never go out of style, and will always look great.

So, want a tutorial? Okay then, coming right up! I used Sarah’s tutorial as a guide (let’s be honest, I pretty much copied her).

Start by cutting through all the caulk of the previous window sills and moulding.

Now it’s time to start prying off all that old trim. I used a chisel and a hammer to get it started and it worked great, though I’m pretty sure that’s not an official use for a chisel.

Slowly pry off the moulding being careful not to damage the walls.

To get the window sill off I used a hammer to bang under the lip of it until it was loose, then I pried it off too. The reason I removed the sills is two fold. For one, the sills were not square or blunt along the edge. They were rounded. Craftsman style moulding generally uses a more square or blunt edge. And reason number two, the very outer edge didn’t stick out far enough to accommodate the new wider trim I was about to hang up. If this is confusing, stick with me and I’ll explain in more detail soon.

Here’s a very messy shot once the trim and window sills were removed.

The sill was the hardest part to calculate because I wanted one sill spanning all three windows (instead of three separate sills). I simply held the long board up (with my son’s help) and marked where all my cutouts needed to be.

I set up a very trashy (lol pun intended) and makeshift cutting area over two garbage cans because I don’t have sawhorses (those suckers are expensive!). Using my jig saw I cut out the sill. For the far right and left overhang, I wanted the overhang to be the width of my trim plus 1″.

Once my sill was cut I gave it a good sanding. I also sanded every other piece of wood I used on this project. Not a ton of sanding, but just a light once-over. I also knocked down all the edges of the boards so they weren’t sharp – not rounded or anything, I just took the edge off.

Because my three sills spanned a total of 13 feet I had to use two separate boards to complete my sill.

Here’s where my first board ended. I purposely ended it right at the edge there because I felt like it would be the easiest place to put a seam that I can fill later.

Here’s what the sill looks like around one of the walls between the windows. Also, please note, in all these photos I’ve left the two middle walls between the windows bare. They will have wood over them as well, but I picked up the wrong size and need to go back and purchase the correct piece.

For the header across the 13 feet of window, I actually made the entire thing in the driveway. Once it was assembled my son helped me hoist it up and nail it in place with my nail gun.

Before adding the header I added my side boards to trim out the window. Once they were nailed into place I hoisted the header (pre-made) on top and secured it. The sides, middle section of the header, and the skirt under the sill are all made using 1x4s. The remainder of the header is a piece of lattice, then the 1×4, then a 1×2. It’s much easier to build these before you install them.

Once the window was done I was still feeling ambitious so I tackled the door as well. I started by removing all the trim.

The previous trim was more narrow than the new trim so I had to cut away some of the baseboard to accommodate it. I used the dremel to easily cut away the excess baseboard. I wasn’t overly careful though because (spoiler alert) we are replacing the floor and all the baseboards within the next several months (fingers crossed!).

And yay, it’s done! I trimmed out the door the exact same way I did the window – sides first, then the header last.

Hopefully I’ll get these guys caulked and painted before long so I can show you a final reveal! This new trim makes me so giddy-happy. I can’t decide if I should finish up these guys first, or go do more trim around more windows and then finish them all up at once.

Here’s a quick and easy guide for measurements. I had a really hard time finding any information online about certain overhang widths, so after much googling and sleuthing around online I determined that

* The 1×2 and lattice in the header should overhang approximately 1/2″ from the center 1×4.
* The 1×4 in the header and the 1×4 on the side of the door or window should line up perfectly.
* The sill should overhang an additional 1″ from the side trim.
* My new sill is a 1×6, but yours may vary depending on how deep your windows are set.

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