Guest Closet Makeover

Well, it finally happened. One day I was minding my own business when I decided it was high time to organize and clean the guest room closet. I haven’t really bothered with the room since doing the ceiling back in January and rearranging the furniture.

As you can see on the dedicated page here, the closet was in pretty bad shape. Lots of crap, storage that didn’t really fit, and not a lot of space for clothes to actually hang for, you know, guests.

DSC_0176So, out things came. I pulled out these ugly baseboards and vacuumed really well. Next time Dad is in town with his saw we’ll install the white baseboard.

 old ugly baseboards

Before I could do much I needed to consolidate some of the crafty stuff (I’ll go through more thoroughly to donate/sell later). Luckily these bins that I used to gather things up for the garage sale came in very handy.

Craft Storage BinsI pulled out the Ikea organizer, thinking it might be time to retire it. But instead, it migrated to the garage for now so I could use it for storing blankets and pillows.

The file cabinet was another story, I wanted that to go to the office but the singular problem with it was the top was somehow designed to hang off the back of the unit by a few extra inches. Which is annoying. So the next time he visits Dad is going to trim it with his table saw.

A large basket of clothes went to Goodwill and the nightstand from Salvation Army came out so I could take a look at all the toys/VHS tapes and decide what to do with them. Don’t ask yet, I haven’t a clue.

Finally, my GIANT basket of bags and purses came out and I pulled out every single purse or item I owned. It was, to be polite, a disaster zone.

More on that soon.

Once the closet was empty, I went ahead and took out the baseboards and then steam cleaned the carpet. I figured it would need the evening to dry which gave me time to work on the new storage solution.

Enter: the Ikea bookshelf.

I know, I know, I only have… 11 of them already. But now I have an even number!

I picked up the Expedit 2×4 unit in white as well as a few more boxes for storage. I got it assembled on Friday night and started planning how I was going to fill the cubbies. It would just fit in the closet by a few inches so I was prepared for it to become my bench/storage/closet unit for good.

 Empty storage benchI decided that a mix of fitted boxes and open storage was good so first I added the two darker blue bins I already had that hold all of my sheets. Since I only have queen sized beds they don’t really need to be labeled.

I picked up more bins at Ikea and figured the other spaces would just have DIY solutions or stay open.

Here’s how it turned out:

Craft Cubbies

Top row left to right: paint and paint brushes, pillow cases, Mom’s sewing machine, queen sheets

Bottom row left to right: magazines and thread, scrapbook paper, stamps and felt, queen sheets

To finish up the room I pulled up the 2 rugs and steam cleaned the bit of the carpet that’s visible around the bed.

Now, I still have these 4 tubs, plus the VHS tapes, plus a ton more pictures AND all those bags/purses to sort through.

Well, at least I have some blog topics for the coming weeks!


New Pinterest Projects: Staining Ikea Organizers

This was a quickie project that I put off for quite awhile and finally started in January (and finished this week). First, here are the inspiration pins:

ikea(1) Source I really like the darker stain here because it looks like a card catalog!

Ikea2(2) Source This one was a bit bright but I like the color and how they removed the middle drawer (this is the same style as mine)

Ikea3(3) Source This one too was bright and cheerful, I liked the idea of many fabrics and colors in theory but seriously doubted my ability to make decisions

While I liked the bright versions, I was convinced that I wouldn’t be able to get enough fabric or paint to make it look good without endlessly priming and prepping. So I chose the stain method!

Unfortunately these aren’t sold at Ikea anymore, I probably bought this back in 2006, if memory serves it was $10. I’ve been using two of these, one in the office, another in the bathroom for 4 years.

The problem is that in the original unfinished wood dust piles up and gets in the grooves and looks really dingy. So I picked up this stain:

 photo MFKIkea4_zpsc80e009c.jpg

The process is super simple, just brush it on with a foam brush and then wipe off. I set this up on a paint tray so catch any drips and used old worn out socks to wipe off the stain.

I only stained the outsides of the drawers, knowing that the interior would be easier to view if lighter.

 photo MFKIkea3_zpsf418472d.jpg

While the first image on this post was ultimately the inspiration for going darker, I didn’t want to add drawer pulls. Instead I picked up these labels from the Martha Stewart line at Staples (which is awesome btw) in the clearance area. If memory serves each packet has 12 labels and was $1.

The gold and silver wasn’t really my thing so I set up a box in the garage and spray painted them with ORB.

 photo MFKIkea1_zps8881f059.jpg

Really easy to peel and stick these on and then add the little paper insert.

One warning is that the stain smells terrible so if it’s January and too cold to stand in the garage, do them inside and whisk them out quickly. Then be prepared to let them off-gas for a week or so in the garage. It might be quicker if you put them outside but if it’s January and raining you may have fewer options. In July it’s much faster 🙂

I brought mine in too soon (I was excited, okay?) and the smell kept me up at night it was so bad. I’m stubborn like that.

But it’s a quick, easy and relatively inexpensive project to do!

Ikea organizer


  • Stain: $5 ish at Walmart
  • Brush: 7 cents ea at Michaels and I used 1
  • Organizers: $10 originally at Ikea
  • Labels: $1 for 12
  • Total: $28 for both

I haven’t finished labeling them yet but that’s on the list!

Pinterest Project : Recovering Nightstands

This project goes back about a year when I was working on finishing the master bedroom before August. I kept looking for a way to add texture to the bookshelf or nightstands and ended up priming and painting them all white:

2012_07_15 (22)Okay, well the drawer became gray, which I didn’t really like once it was in the room.

I really fell in love with this Moroccan stencil and thought it would be fun. Ignoring the fact that I suck at any painting that isn’t “slap it on” simple. Here’s the poorly done stencil that I covered up with more paint:

20130915_162629Beautiful, right? (there really needs to be a sarcasm font).

So in lieu of knowing what to do, I moved the nightstand out to the garage and let it sit there for a few weeks.

Then… magic. In the form of remnant fabric from Jo-Anns! I picked up this piece that was .583 yds, originally $12.99/yd on clearance for $3.80. Since the fabric was thick enough, and sorta fuzzy, I decided to use hot glue instead of modge podge.

20130915_164008I had enough on this remnant to do the tops of both and the back of the second nightstand too. Since the top isn’t covered by anything like modge podge it’s nice and fuzzy.

Then, when I finished the top I realized how much I hated the gray drawer. So I pulled it out, unscrewed the drawer pulls and found my black glossy spray paint. 17 thousand coats later:

 photo MFKNighstand_zps54a423e5.jpg

I would still like to find some drawer pulls in white but those are on the list for later. Here’s how it looks in the room:

 photo MFKNightstand2_zps2a6cb696.jpgFor those of you counting at home, yes this makes 4 table tops currently covered in zebra print fabric… I might need an intervention. But isn’t it cute? Since all the frames in my room and the dresser are dark I thought it was a nice way to bring the two together. Who knows? Maybe I’ll use the other remnant on my bookshelf.

Didn’t I mention that?

Yes, I found 2 remnants. And bought them both.


Home Again

It’s been just about 50 hours since I returned home following 18 days on the road. In many ways I’m glad to be back (my own stuff, full kitchen, the dogs) but I’m also feeling unsettled.

A lot of big things shifted while I was gone including decisions I needed to make, plans that began and even my birthday.

I turned 29 last week and am surprisingly not freaked out. Much. I think in the year since JT died I’ve learned that growing old is a blessing denied to many so I’ll accumulate my years and not worry about them.


While traveling I discovered that I really missed time at the gym with a regular routine. Doing ab work and squats in my rented apartment just wasn’t the same. Not even the hotel gyms were all that great.

I still adore walking on the beach, playing in the waves (dodging jellyfish) and lying in the sand. My backside is tan thanks to a gallon of aloe vera I poured on to keep from peeling.

Yes, I took sunscreen with me. Yes, I stubbornly refused to put it on.


During my trip I read 2 books, one technically I finished last night. The first was a Kindle book The Templar Knights following a former CIA type in the same style as the Dan Brown/DiVinci Code books. It was fun fluff. The second book was a gift from the author Eric Holtzclaw about understanding consumer behavior called Laddering.

While it held fascinating insights for business, I was reading it on one of my flights and had to put it away because it made me a little sad. From page 57:

“As we move even further into a relationship-based society, we have to consider the following: Why would consumers think you care if you are not willing to sit down with them in their environments and truly understand who they are and what they want? Compare this with the process of buying a present for someone for his or her birthday or a holiday. The best gifts always come from a true understanding of what’s important, dear, and core to the receiver. The consumer who is spending money with your company deserves and expects the same level of respect and understanding.”

What made me so sad about that passage was knowing that I put a lot of time and effort into the gifts I give. If I don’t really know you or like you then you might get a card but most likely nothing. And every year for holidays and my birthday I hear “but you didn’t give me a list” as an excuse. Well, at 29 I’m taking a stand.

There will be no more lists.

If the people in my life don’t have a true understanding of who I am and what I want then please, save your time and don’t get me anything.


I’m going to the farmer’s market today, to restock on groceries before I end up eating out every meal. My plan for the weekend is to make Lentil soup, tikka masala and maybe even prep the chicken for crispy tacos.

In some ways I’m glad to have the weekend to recover but also sad we’re not doing the backyard party I’d planned when I finished the backyard. Truthfully, the grass looks like shit and I’ll need to spend some time fertilizing and seeding it before winter really hits if I don’t want a house surrounded by mud holes.

The leaves are still falling in droves so at some point I’ll round them up with the leaf blower and tidy up the sideyard and front porch. I hope I can enjoy my chairs and new pillows outdoors before the rain begins.

At least I’ll have plenty of indoor projects this winter including my foot chest painting project, grouting the tiles in both bathrooms and sorting 100 years worth of family photos for archiving. Not to mention I’d like to finally scan and shred 90% of the papers in my house!

So, it’s good to be home.