DIY Dollar Store Christmas Advent Calendar

I started doing an advent calendar a few years ago, instead of doing stockings ( I wish I could do both, but frankly it's a lot of work, and money! ) and I had this pretty mirrored advent box from Target that was just lovely. However, I now have two daughters and the box holes are tiny. So if I wanted to just put 2 hershey kisses in each box, I'd be set. But no, I like to make it complicated and do a bit more than that.



I had the plan in my head, and off to Dollar Tree I went. 
I gathered:

1 Bag of Brown Paper Bags(40)- $1
1 Bag of Clothespins- $1
1 Tube of Silver Glitter - $1
( I had twine, mod podge and paint at home..but you could gather up: 
Red/White Striped Plastic Clothesline $1
Black Sharpie $1
Glue $1 )

I cut the paper bags to make them squatty, and painted the numbers on ( I didnt have a sharpie at the time, so I did it the long way ) I then acquired the help of my 6 year old to modge podge the clothespins and glitter them to death.


I then tied the string on the back of my chalkboard with small nails in place, filled the bags with Dollar Tree goodies, Target Dollar Spot stuff, activities and candy for both girls. Voila!






Some quick ideas for what to put in the bags:

Christmas Candy ( Chocolate/Pez Dispensers etc )
GlowSticks
Jewelry
Matchbox Cars
Cookie Cutter with a note that you'll make cookies with them
Stickers ( for my girls I bought tiny ones for their nails )
Little Legos
Activity Cards ( look at christmas lights, give neighbors gifts, watch christmas movie etc )
Fake Money that they get to use on a selection of things
Fridge Magnets
Nail Polish
Ornament



More cheap Christmas decor to come!

Steph's Gift Picks for the Bachelor Pad

Gift giving season is upon us ( insert me squealing ) so I will be adding a few gift picks over the next few weeks. This post is a shout out to all the dudes out there that have a bachelor pad. We cant forget about these guys! They need chic house stuff too, ya know.

Most of these products I have seen in person or used myself, so they're legit. The ice balls are so fun, I recently gave them as a gift paired with the wall mounted bottle opener. That candle? Smells like man. Mmmmm. The bathroom guest book is for a lil potty humor, along with more potty humor, Cards Against Humanity.

The small concrete and wood planters. Dont get me stawted ( said with a Jersey accent ) Nystrom Goods is actually based out of Boise, and I'm crazy about these planters. I plan on buying some for mah-self.

( and obviously, these gifts are great for anyone, but I was in a masculine mood tonight. Dont judge )

Untitled #2


Nautica cotton sheet set
nordstrom.com


H M bath towel
$11 - hm.com




3-Wick Candle Home Fragrance
bathandbodyworks.com


Tech accessory
etsy.com




Clock
distilunion.com


Nystrom Goods - Concrete Planter
www.NystromGoods.com


Nystrom Goods Wood Planter
www.NystromGoods.com

The Importance of the Rug. Do's and Dont's!

I had three people in one week, come to me with Rug conundrums, and therefore, I'm blogging about it! Buying a rug is not only a big decision, it's usually a big commitment. It's the first thing I choose when designing a room, as it is the thing that anchors the room. It's not a decision to make quickly or half heartedly, especially when it's a large area rug.

Lets get to it.

Problem: " I have a rug that I'm in love with, but it's too small for the space "

Solution: If it is a rug that you have your heart set on for that space ( and no where else in your home) then lets make it work, by layering.  Try buying a larger sisal rug ( preferably Overstock.com ) and layer with your favorite rug.







If your furniture is not sitting on your rug, then your rug is too small. This is a common mistake people make, and it shrinks the size of your room! Most are intimidated by buying large rugs, due to the prices, but there are some great resources for large rugs. You can also use the solution above for this problem, and buy a cheaper sisal rug and layer with a rug with color and pattern to top.




So this:




Not this:



Furthermore, I cant stress the importance of a rug. It anchors the room! I know you've heard that before, but do you really know? Do you? Look at the following real estate photos, that obviously need rugs. Obviously. ( ouch )

 Dont get me started on this room. Honestly, it'd be better off naked. This space needs 2 rugs to separate the dining and the living room. And those tables? Not sure whats going on there.


Clearly, needs anchor.



Clearly.



I need to stop, I'm getting a headache looking at these. I need to start my staging services for clueless realtors. Oye.


Favorite Inexpensive Rug Resources:

Overstock
Rugsusa
HomeGoods

Nate Berkus Fabric put to use! DIY Pillow with Zipper

I like to switch up my pillows yearly, and knew that it was time when I laid eyes on Nate Berkus' fabric line. However, this time I wanted to do a zipper closure for the first time, since I wanted to be able to wash these guys.

I was intimidated. My mom is a sewing wizard, so I had her teach me this method the other week, and it's much more painless than it seamed! (see what I did there..)

The Fabric was on sale for 60% off at the time, and I just got one yard.


I have a slight obsession with fabric, but a straight up addiction to navy patterns.

Anyways. I'm happy with how they turned out, very simple and quick project for a rainy afternoon!




There are a couple different ways to install a zipper ( either sewing one side of the zipper at a time like I did, or sewing one side of the fabric together leaving a seem for you to lay the entire zipper down and sew ) 


THIS tutorial is closest to what I did ( picture above shows I sewed one side of the zipper at a time )
and THIS youtube video is very helpful too.


You asked about it, here's your answer.

I can't count how many emails I get asking where I got my "tv console." I bought this years ago from Overstock.com, it was, at the time, a knockoff of a $1300 Crate and Barrel buffet, and I bought this guy for $350 I believe.

They discontinued it for quite some time, but it is back now. (currently out of stock, but sign up for their " alert me " email to let you know when they stock back up )
It's renamed the Hartford Buffet, the price is now $429 but keep your eyes out for coupons, they always have big coupons for big buys. You can find it HERE

 'scuse the old pic

The quality is GREAT. It's held up wonderfully. I will say, to this day, it's been the hardest piece of furniture to assemble. Holy crap. Take a Xanax or a handful of tylenol prior to opening the box.



So there ya go. Buffet finally identified, once and for all :) Thanks for the emails ya'll!

Bring your kitchen sink, Back to life!

Lets be real honest for a second. If you have a porcelain kitchen sink, the sight on the left is probably familiar to you.




I let my sink go for 2 months and this is what it looks like when I dont do the method I'm about to tell you about. I've blogged about it in the past, but wanted to bring it back to life because I do this trick with ALL of my porcelain.


It looks horribly scratched, veiny and dirty. It's actually not dirty dirty, it had a soap bath prior to this picture, but that doesnt matter. Just trying to make myself feel better about exposing my dirty laundry.

Moving on.

Below is the lovely marriage of Bark Keepers Friend ( liquid version ) and a generic magic eraser.
The Eraser on it's own does it fantastic job....but to take it to the next level, use this product.
I always cut my erasers in half, because, well, I hoard them ( enter Smiegel saying " my precious " )
and it doesnt need a whole pad.


Get your sink wet and squirt some of the BarKeepers Friend on the porcelain and start cleaning
it with the eraser. You'll discover that it doesnt take hardly any elbow grease, and in the blink of an eye you are done.

The pics below are unedited. 



No longer rough. No more veins. Can I apply this to the back of my thighs?  



Take this method to your bathtub. It'll change your life. You dont have to use the BarKeepers Friend so much in the tub ( unless you do have scratches ) but the grime that the eraser itself picks up from the inner sides of the tub is enough to make a grown man cry. 


Another tip?

Do not. I repeat. Do NOT. Waste your money on the name brand, Magic Eraser. They are like $4-6 for TWO depending on the kind.
All these years I've been buying mine from the Dollar Tree. Two for $1. However, My local store just stopped doing the two pack, and is now only selling one. Dumb.

So. I hopped on Amazon, and bought 50 pieces of melamine sponge for $3.80. You read right.
The catch? It does come from China, and takes about 4 weeks. Big Woop. You can get 100 for $6.00.  They may not be as thick as name brand, in which I'd probably use the whole sponge on the sink. Again, Big Woop.



What's Hot! Naturals/Golds: My Picks

Everywhere I turn, lately, I'm seeing more and more natural and gold accents. Golds made their way back into the scene last year, but the trend continues! It's nice to have a mix of metallic here and there. Here are my current faves.


Naturals


Makeover Monday // Guest Room Overhaul

This room belongs to my "adopted" brother, who lives with us for 5 months out of the year. I'm so mad because I cannot find the before pictures, but trust me, it was bad.
I joked that it was where old furniture went to die. It was ugly. It had builder beige on the walls ( in flat, EEK ) along with furniture I had intended to refinish, recover etc. I finally just bit the bullet, tossed the crap and bought new.

It was a relatively cheap makeover though! I wanted a very very clean feeling room, and to keep it masculine I stuck with dark finishes but light fabrics.

There's a lot of Ikea in this room, as you'll see. The Bed and Nightstands(craigslist ), Wall Lamp, Ottoman (free on the side of the road ) Navy Pillow Cover, and Sofa are all Ikea.

Speaking of Lamp...isnt she a beaut?

These cozy Euro Shams are via Pottery Barn clearance, I scored BOTH for $22 shipped.
P.S. Cheapest places for Euro Inserts is Overstock.com



The room was flip flopped for a long time, I had the bed in this living area but this arrangement is far better. 

Frames are Ikea Ribba, Table was custom, Chair was Craigslist $15, Pillow Nordstrom Clearance, Lamp was Marshalls Clearance.

The sofa was nearly brand new off of Craigslist, It's Ikea, scored for $100 and the quality is pretty great.


Hiding under the table is the rolling Ottoman I recovered ( read about it here )

I found this guy on clearance for $29 ( reg $139 at World Market )


And finally these Bamboo Roman Shades from JCP.com were $18 a piece!




The paint is my all time favorite grey, Dolphin Fin. It's also used in my daughters room.
I'll be adding accessories here and there, but it's pretty much finished.

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