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Posted on: June 23rd, 2015 by Darla | No Comments

No matter how much painting you have or haven’t done, it’s always good to pay attention to details. Here are five details to keep in mind.

5 furniture painting tips

Furniture Painting Tips: Beware of drips.

Whether you are painting with a brush or spray, drips are the enemy. If you are working with spray paint, use a light touch and several light coats. If you find drips, sand them out and add another coat. With brushed paint, you’ll often find more paint than you need collected at the corners and edges. Try to find it before it starts to dry, and just brush away the excess with a nearly dry paint brush. Once it dries, you’ll have to sand and paint, but it’s very hard to get it right. Be sure to walk all the way around your piece just after you paint it, and look at it from all angles to catch those drips.

5 furniture painting tips drops

Furniture Painting Tips: Use long, end to end strokes.

Here, you can see the top that was covered with short strokes. This might be ok for a first coat, depending on the finish you are working with, but try to get each coat as smooth as possible using long, end to end strokes that cover the length of whatever you are working on. This means getting the feel for how much paint is loaded on your brush, so that it covers in one pass. It’s just like Goldilocks: not too much and not too little. If this seems hard, then get the entire surface covered with paint, and give it one complete end-to-end pass of the brush while it is still wet. You’ll still see light brush strokes in most paint, but you don’t want to see where it starts and ends.5 furniture painting tips brush marks

Furniture Painting Tips: Pay attention to the ends.

If you’ve followed the step above, two sides of any rectangle will be easy because they are going with the direction of your brush. The other two ends, or in the case the ends where you start and finish your stroke, are harder to get just right. You want to be sure not to end up with a bead of paint on the sides. Go over this a couple of times. Feather in the ends, checking one last time for drips that you might not immediately see.

5 furniture painting tips smooth edges

Furniture Painting Tips: Did you mean to make those stripes (and globs)?

If you are in a hurry, or if you are new to painting furniture, it’s easy to end up with extra stripes of paint on your furniture. This happens usually because you load too much paint on your brush, and it falls off onto the furniture, and dries quickly. Be careful to lightly wipe your brush against the inside of the paint can to unload some of the paint on your brush. “Unloading” the brush isn’t  an extra step; it’s part of the process.It takes a while to get the right feel for how much paint is just right on the brush, and how much paint causes sloppy marks and drips. Less is more to start with.

5 furniture painting tips stripes and globs

Furniture Painting Tips: Kamikaze bugs.

This last one is a toughie. I don’t have a studio, so I’m usually working on my projects in my yard in good weather or in my garage. Outside, the trees and pollen will land on a half-dry project, becoming an unintended part of the design. Inside the garage, the bugs will swing by and get stuck. I honestly don’t have an answer for this one, except to be vigilant in protecting the work area and pulling out the offenders as soon as possible. The best solution would be to have a work area with a slow-moving overhead fan, which discourages bugs. But, this is real life people. If you do have a critter in the mix, try to pull him out asap, and touch up if needed. That’s the great thing about painted furniture. It isn’t factory perfect, so you can always touch it up, whether that is hours or months later.

5 furniture painting tips bugs

Painting furniture can be incredibly rewarding, but incredibly frustrating as well. Just take your time and remember that we all have to deal with these same issues. You’ll get better the more you do, and the more you practice your technique. In the end, you can consistently come up with beautiful results like this end table makeover.

Beautiful on the Inside (End Table Makeover)

Posted on: June 18th, 2015 by Darla | 6 Comments

I had the pleasure of finishing up this garage organizing project, and wanted to give you some inspiration.

super beautiful organized garage after (8)I am really not clever enough to have timed this post just before Father’s Day, but hey, if it gives you some ideas, even better.

The garage floor was sealed with one of the Rust-Oleum garage products.

A few red and white bins help contain the clutter and increase the cute factor.

organized garage after and sealed floor

You’ve seen me use this Organized Living system a million times. We left plenty of space on this rack to store the patio cushions during the winter. See through metal bins are perfect for storing- and seeing- sports equipment.

super beautiful organized garage after (8)

This is one of my favorite things. These grids are rock solid on the wall, secured at 6 points, while the hangers themselves are completely customizable for whatever gadgets and tools you need to store. Pretty cool.

garage after (5) for hanging tools

What else would you like to know about this gorgeous organized garage? Please leave a comment below.

Posted on: June 2nd, 2015 by Darla | 18 Comments

What could you do if you could be 80% efficient in your day instead of just 20%? We’re about to find out. Welcome to a new home office makeover in coral and blue.

Home Office Makeover in Coral and Blue

Wayfair is sponsoring this post that brings you a pop of color in coral and blue.

How can a home office makeover make a difference to a small business owner’s efficiency? When your office has become the family’s dumping space, and you are constantly shuttling between the kitchen table and the sofa, it can be hard to stay on top of all those little details that make a small business hum.

Please note: This office wasn’t messy. It was abandoned.

Abandoned spaces are magnets for clutter.

cluttered Home office desk

The homeowner didn’t feel at home in this space, and so she ended up working elsewhere, even though her business has grown in leaps and bounds over the recent years. She deserved an office, but this alcove off the master bedroom had become just a storage space.

cluttered small business home office

The built in desk was split in two parts, his and hers, and divided by a bracket and a file cabinet on the underside, so without structural changes, she could never really use all the space. And the other side of the room, even though the ceiling sloped, had tons of potential that wasn’t being lived up to.

home office needs decluttering

We’re not sure if the mustardy color was the biggest culprit, or the unframed doorway was causing it, but we agreed that the energy between the main bedroom and this office alcove was a vicious push/pull, and it wasn’t restful for the family or helpful for the business.

Even though it’s a small-ish space, this was a relatively large project because we:

  • Sorted and purged through all the papers
  • Set up a business filing system
  • Slimmed down the homeowner’s paper filing system
  • Eliminated unwanted electronics
  • Painted the walls and the file cabinets
  • Created an entirely new desk area for the business owner
  • Swapped in a new desk (repurposed from a bedroom) for the husband
  • Decorated
  • Created separation between the two spaces with a restful, heavy lined curtain.
  • Added color and scale on the small window with a new custom valence.

Can I say, I just never want to leave this space, now.

Home Office Makeover in Coral and Blue reveal

Oh, right, we even have room for the family to practice guitar, now!

Of course, there is tons of organization. We added under shelf LED strip lights to ensure the work space is bright and cheery.

use bins to create office storage on shelves

A couple of mason jars are painted (same custom coral color) and hold office essentials like paper clips.

Home Office Makeover in Coral and Blue-mason jars holding office supplies

There are tons of organized spots here for projects as they come up. Books that stayed are on topic and inspiring.

Organized Home Office Makeover in Coral and Blue

No drawers? No problem. These simple plastic bins create oodles of organization.

organization for Home Office Makeover in Coral and Blue

Two ugly black (but sturdy and free!) file cabinets were painted a custom color mix Annie Sloan Decorative Chalk Paint ® color just for this client.

Painted File cabinet -Home Office Makeover in Coral and Blue

A new nail-head upholstered chair came from Wayfair.

chairs for Home Office Makeover in Coral and Blue

A matching chair outfits hubby’s new desk on the former storage side of the room. Since there are no large drawers in this desk, a repurposed crate serves as file/paper storage for him.

2 person office- Home Office Makeover in Coral and Blue

The shelves were carefully purged to hold those things that will help move the business forward. Dollar frames (originally black plastic) were custom painted with the same chalk paint to match the file cabinets and bring in friendly faces.

Home Office Makeover in Coral and Blue

It’s all about the details. We no longer needed the printer stand, but we repainted it to become a new footstool, making the spot more comfortable and hiding some cords under the desk at the same time.

Footstool in Home Office Makeover in Coral and Blue

Even though we created a separation from the bedroom with some lovely, heavy curtains, she may or may not be leaving them open a bit just to peek at the pretty new space.

Curtain seprarate the Home Office Makeover in Coral and Blue

Well, the space is different, but what about the business owner? She claimed she was only 20% efficient in her day, but now that she’s working every day in a real office that’s organized, she reports being closer to  80% efficient or better. Who wouldn’t be in an inspiring, beautiful, organized space?

She thought she could, so she did.

I just love this space. It’s my favorite so far.

I know, I know, I say that every time.

Check out these other fantastic home office makeovers:

Home Office Makeover in Blue and Green

Home Office in a Closet

Home Office Makeover with IKEA Shelving

Designer’s Home Office Makeover


 What’s your favorite spot in this new home office makeover?





Posted on: May 27th, 2015 by Darla | 2 Comments

How’s your summer going? I’ve been in a bit of a funk lately, with about 89 blog posts 90% written, and just a few too many projects on my plate. But it’s all good. I’ve been reading a few good books (see below*), teaching my little ones to ride bikes, and doing some organizing at my place.

One of those organizing projects is always and again my garage. I’ve got a few too many things in my garage since the girls both traded up a size in bikes. You know how much I love the Just Between Friends sales, but I didn’t have my act together that early this year, and so I went to Plan B.

Have you heard of Play it Again Sports?

Today I took a van-load of gear to the one in Berwyn, PA and made $22.25 cash by selling 2 sets of skates, some training wheels, a helmet neither of my girls ever wore, and an itty-bitty scooter (in the second picture below).

sell sports gear and organize the garage (1)

I also consigned two items, a 2-seater wagon and a small princess bike. If they both sell before the end of the summer, I’ll net another $30.

sell bikes and sports gear and organize the garage

Things they didn’t take? Two sets of black skates, a double bike rack for a sedan, and this sweet child seat for a bike. So, this is going up on CraigsList tonight.

sell sports gear and organize the garage (1)

My point? Certainly not that $22.25 is going to change my week. It isn’t.

Or even that I have more space in the garage. I do.

But these things that have been gunking up my basement, my garage, and my life have now moved on to make another family happy. That just makes sense for everyone, and another child will get to use these things before they are damaged or decay.

I hope if you find yourself tripping over unused sports equipment this summer, you find your way to a local consignment sale or store to pass it on. Maybe you’ll even fund part of your next project, $22.25 at a time.

make money, sell sports gear and organize the garage (1)


*Interested in what I’m reading these days? I’d highly recommend these books (affiliate links below). Let me know if any of them make your summer reading list:

Posted on: May 19th, 2015 by Darla | No Comments


Easy ways to organize beauty products in the bathroom

1. Keep only the items you use every single day in your medicine cabinet. Leave room for the basics like toothbrush and skincare. At least that part of your routine can be simplified to just one product for each step in your routine, even if you have a million choices for color and finishing touches.

2. For beauty items that coordinate with your outfit or the season, like blushers, eye shadows, and lip color, group them together by category so you can see your choices at a glance.

3. Use clear acrylic drawer dividers or decorative boxes to hold groups of each makeup type in drawers or on shelves. Organizing your items will cut down on the time to get ready and will start your day off on an organized, empowered note.

4. Use wall space by adding bins like those found in kitchens to hang utensils. Add magnetic or hook and loop (Velcro) fasteners to hang items in plain view on the back of the medicine cabinet door. The back of the bathroom door can offer even more storage space with the addition of a clear see-through shoe pocket organizer.

5. The under-sink space is super-high value real estate. Use a 2-tier sliding organizer to make use of all the room under your sink, and to reduce spills and messes.

6. Minimize the amount of beauty product in your tub area. Find a shampoo and body wash that the whole family enjoys using rather than tripping over multiples.

7. Most tubs don’t have much built in storage. Add racks that hang over the shower head and offer 2-4 shelves to hold beauty products and gear. Or suspend another shower rod on the inside back wall at eye level to hold baskets that can hold even more beauty items or bath toys.

8. The 80/20 rule applies to most beauty products. We usually use 20% of our products 80% of the time, and most products get used barely at all. Decide which items are your favorites, and pack the rest away for a month. If you don’t go back into the box to retrieve any of those items, you can probably do without them altogether.

9. Repurpose whenever possible. Use mason jars, wooden boxes that were original packaging for nicer beauty products, and small tin pails from the garden department to help you sort items together and make them look nice.

10. Even simple plastic bins from the dollar store can look great if they are in the same color scheme and labelled nicely.

11. Update your light bulbs. It’s hard to organize what you can’t see.

12. If you are updating your space, ensure there are plenty of drawers to store your beauty products in. Most basic vanities don’t come with drawers. With drawers, you can easily separate your beauty stash and keep your counters clear so you have room to prep each morning.