Another Project in the Master Bath

While I wait (impatiently so) for the time when I can tear out my master bath sink, cabinet, floors and baseboards I’ve been working on other projects. After cleaning up the cabinets in the main bathroom I decided to tackle the master bath cabinet.

I started with the built in cabinet which started out like this:


The previous owner tried to paint it before and got about halfway done. So I began by adding a bead of caulk around the seam.


Then, while that was drying I pulled out a can of oops paint from Home Depot ($2 paint is my favorite) and started painting. Here’s the drying cubby after one coat:


When the caulk dried I finished the paint, making sure it covered well.

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It usually takes about a coat and a half to get really good coverage. The bottom of the shelf isn’t getting paint (but will get tiles or vinyl).

I moved up, painting the top shelf and rearranging the contents. It’s amazing to me how much brighter it looks with this new color! It’s definitely not perfect but now looks uniform and with those cracks filled it’s easier to keep clean and free of pests.

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The next step is to sand the outside of the shelving unit and then paint it white to match with the rest of the room. But that’s going to be messy. And I want an electric sander. And I’m sick of painting so it might be awhile.


My Shady Ways

I think it’s finally time to get moving on a Pinterest project that I’ve been looking at for far too long, if the 7 different styles and tutorials in my “make these things” board is any indication.

It’s all about replacing my current window blinds with new, pretty, faux shades in the kitchen, living room and office. Of course I want to do 5 of these at once but I might need to do them slowly.

I’ll post my own tutorial here because as I did this project there was a whole lot of guess work and I wish the blogs I’d read this on had been more clear. First up, measure the space you need the fabric.

1. Grab your measuring tape and measure from the top of the window (where the existing blind rests near the top) to the bottom sill. This is the height of the fabric you’ll need plus 4 inches. This will give you a bit of wiggle room if you cut it wonky and to tuck in at the top and bottom.

The second measurement you’ll need is the width of the window plus 2 inches. I found it was pretty easy to hem in 1″ on either side of the fabric so the shade fills the window without gaps or looking too big. You may want to give yourself 4″ if you’re nervous about the cutting.

2. Buy your fabric. Keep in mind that if you’re using a patterned fabric to orient the design the way you want it to show up in the window. i.e. don’t let it get cut so you can only install the shade sideways.

If you’re using a solid color like I did, remember to look for curtain liner quality. You can buy a basic muslin or cotton but it won’t hold the shape as well and will let in more light. I was pretty happy with the fabric I bought and it was on sale for $3.99/yd.

3. Carefully remove your blind from the window. You may want to extend the blinds first which makes it harder to move but easier once it’s out of the window.

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For extra credit, clean the windows thoroughly, add a bead of caulk along any seams that need sealing and touch up the window sill paint.

Or just plop the blinds down on a large, flat surface.

4. Disassemble the blinds. This is where I was so lost so I’ll show you my step by step.

Flip over the bottom bar and you’ll find a few small plugs or holes. This is where the strings running down the blinds tuck in. Remove those plugs and use a small pair of tweezers to pull out the strings. Usually they’re tied in a knot so untie the knot or, if it’s really stuck, cut it off.

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The long, more solid string that runs straight down the blinds is your pull cord, it raises and lowers the blinds. You’ll want to keep this for your shade.

The wimpier, criss-crossy cord that the slats of your blinds rests on is your ladder cord, it turns the blinds open and closed. You’ll want to remove this for your shade.

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I found it easiest to snip off the ladder cord on the top and bottom and then carefully slide it off the blind slats. With my larger shade it was more difficult so first I pulled out the pull cord so it wouldn’t get in the way.

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Now your blinds are disassembled and you’ll want to reserve 3-6 slats for the shade and move out the rest.

 5. Select the number of slats you want. If you’re like me at this point you’ll look at your blinds and think “holy crap these are filthy!” so take some time to clean them well, remember that once they’re stuck on the fabric it’ll be damn near impossible to wash the fabric or the slats.

Now, remember the measurement of your window height? Consider how tall your window is and how many bunches you want. You can do 3:




or even 5:



Pick out the slats you want, remember that the top bar is technically 1 point and the bottom bar will be another. So if you want 6 total then you’ll need 4 slats. Go ahead and slide them back on the pull strings and add the bottom bar

Now that you have the slats back on you’ll want to place them in the right position, using your measuring tape space them out evenly.

In my kitchen I had 2 windows so I chose to match the spacing of the slats on the windows so they’d appear to be matching  shades.

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6. Glue the fabric onto the mini-blind. It’s easiest to start at the top and wrap the fabric up and over the top bar. Then run a bead of fabric glue across the outside rounded edge of the slats and press it into place on the fabric. Make sure the edge lines up and if your shade is wide then you may need to measure the spacing at several places to make sure it’s even.

Be careful not to get glue on the pull string otherwise it won’t pull up. Also, if your fabric is light colored like mine the bead of glue may show up behind the fabric. So go for straight lines, not zig zags.

The bottom bar should be the last piece you glue, remember that your measurements will be from the top bar to the bottom bar. My window was 34″ tall so I made the shade 36″ so there was a little bit of a poof along the bottom.

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7. Let the glue dry. This is the boring part. Have a coffee or clean the window that you’ll be covering. Remove any spider webs hiding in the window frame.

8. Re-hang the blinds. This part is tricky because if your brackets are like mine then the top bar will fit into a metal bracket and mess up your shade. So I pulled back the fabric on just the end, locked it in and then put a dab of fabric glue on the edge to hold it.

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9. If your fabric is too short for the width, as mine was in a few spots, then you can simply clip the edges. They do sell special blind clippers but I don’t really care how they look behind the fabric. Just a quick snip with the scissors and they’re ready to hang!

Here they are all finished on and re-hung! See how the spacing has worked out to match?

2013_04_28 (07)I love how much light comes through and the votive candles on the window sill:

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One last look at the coffee corner:

2013_04_28 (09)This whole project for 2 windows was under $50 – mostly because I over bought the fabric. Hoping I’ll have enough in the roll to do one more window in the office or living room!

18 years ago, 14 years ago… and so it goes

I was startled today to realize that 18 years ago I was in Oklahoma. It was 1995 and Spring Break and my family took a trip to the Midwest to visit family. We’d spent time with my mom’s cousins in Oklahoma City, I remember swimming and jumping on the trampoline all day and watching an electrical storm roll in at night.

It was April 19th. My brother’s 12th birthday. It was also the day of the Oklahoma City Bombing.

We were in our rental car early that morning, a Ford because Dad’s a Ford man, driving back to Kansas where we’d finish up our trip before going back to California. The day before we’d been to downtown OKC, visiting the hospital and adoption agency from my brother’s infancy. The drive was uneventful, we probably listened to music, talked, watched the flat countryside roll by.

Back in Wichita there was chaos, our family friends worried about our safety. It was only then we learned of the bombing and found that the first responders in our family (cousins who were nurses and firefighters) were on the scene.

These days kids in the backseat of a car would see the news immediately through their iPhones, get texts from friends immediately or follow streaming videos on YouTube and CNN Live.

Back in 1995 we didn’t have Timothy McVeigh’s face plastered on every screen, his history pulled from Facebook and shared with the masses, his family stalked, threatened and hunted down by the media.

168 people died that day. Years later when I was in college I visited the site with my Dad, walking amongst the reflecting pool and looking at the chairs, one for each life lost. 19 smaller ones for the children who died.


Those babies would be 18 this year, adults and off to college. And while their loss is horrific, the families who gather today in Oklahoma City remembering their lives, I can’t help but think of the loss of innocence. The freedom of not knowing every detail, every action taken by evil men and women.

It was the same but already so different in 1999, I was a high school freshman when two students killed 19 at Columbine. The 14th anniversary of that event is tomorrow.

In December, we were horrified and shocked when the children and teachers at Sandy Hook Elementary were killed. But I was also outraged when the media, when those with nothing more than a twitter account and basic use of the internet identified the wrong suspect, slaughtered his name publicly and then shrugged to say “oops wrong guy.”

I was stunned that they were sharing, on media news, every step of the killer, who he killed and where. Why anyone would want that in their head is beyond me. It’s not a video game, it’s not an episode of Criminal Minds. The first responders to those sites will live with the horror and memories for years to come. Why would you want that knowledge?

I get it, we like to be ‘in the know’

Everyone wants to be the one who knows shit. Before anyone else, preferably. But in our haste to get likes, retweets and internet karma we forget that it’s gossip.

And worse that “becky smells like a dog” gossip, it’s honest to god, life ruining, slander, “this person is a murdering bastard” gossip.

It’s easier to turn to hate, to fear, to lashing out in our grief. Whether or not you were in Boston this week or just feel the injustice of innocent lives lost and changed forever – do not reach for hate.

In closing, I’ll share what I added to Facebook this Monday, a reminder to myself and my own friends that when everything feels out of control we can always control our response:

Please keep in mind today that people often act out of fear and our knee jerk reactions are not always spoken out of love and clear thinking.

I can’t imagine the chaos and terror in Boston today but let’s please keep from making ugly comments, bad assumptions and attacking each other due to fear.

We don’t need laws, wars, badges, memes, or trials today. We need solidarity, love and abundant giving. So donate blood, call a friend, pray, light a candle or give before you condemn.

Busy Days

Well it’s been awhile since I blogged here, mostly because I’ve had no time for projects around the house lately. Combine two trips to LA and one to Phoenix, adding 6 hours of client trainings plus 3 new clients and it’s a very tired Kelly at the end of the week.

But the past few weekends I got out to the backyard to pull some weeds from the flower beds, pick up broken sticks from trees and the rose bushes, scoop dog poop and pick up trash. Nixon has a bad habit of stealing things and killing them in the backyard.

After spending the time outside it definitely looks better and feels good to get some sun!

DSC_0052I also need to:

  • Trim back the roses
  • Dig up 2 dead rose bushes
  • Begin replacing the wood retaining wall with new bricks
  • Seed the lawn in multiple bald spots
  • Plant more flowers under the guest room window
  • Cut down the tree in the corner

Looks like I have my work cut out for me this summer! Some of the roses are blooming beautifully!

roses pretty

Here’s the problem with the retaining wall:

board fallingSee how the board is falling over? The brick border isn’t helping at all.

The retaining wall will probably be made with these rocks from Home Depot:

pavers2Of course I’ll need a few hundred of them, they’re heavy and expensive. So I’ll either need to replace them a dozen at a time or bring them home on a weekend when I can borrow Dad’s truck and wheelbarrow. This corner is going to be particularly fun to do:


The side yard is still looking crappy, mostly because I’m working on clearing out all the weeds, picking up the rocks and figuring out what I want on the side yard.


Thinking of making these raised beds that go along the fence:

bed1Depending on the depth of the bed I might just do one layer and these little corner pieces:


I can’t build them too high or Nixon will use the layers as an assist to jump the fence! Still have a ton of work ahead of me this summer but I like how it’s going so far.