How to: Spray Paint Gold Push Pins

When it comes to decor, I’m pretty sure it’s mostly a giant game of one step forward, two steps back. In most cases, new ideas just beget other new ideas, adding to your already never-ending to-do list. And in some cases, just when you think you’re getting close to finishing that to-do list, something comes along to throw a big, fat fly in the ointment.

Oh, am I being vague again? I’ll elaborate.

This weekend, the person who lives two floors above us flooded their apartment. The apartment above us was also flooded. We were spared the brunt of the water damage, but we do have three lovely nipple-shaped pockets of water on our ceiling right now. Two of them broke through and mostly drained out, but there is still visible damage. Fortunately, our landlord is taking care of it (supposedly today), but it still puts a (literally) damper on my plans to have finished the living room this weekend.

But we’re close, people. So close.

And while I have to throw in the actual towel to sop up the mess for now, there are little signs of progress throughout the apartment. Like this fun little craft I completed a couple weeks ago.

It’s no secret that I love gold details. And since our office area is usually the corner of our home I struggle to make look put together, I thought it would be a nice touch to add some gold details. And rather than spend any money on any new chotchkies or whatever, I broke out some spray primer and spray paint I already had on hand to dress up the drawer pull and my cheap plastic push-pins.

how to paint gold push pins DIY

To paint the push-pins, I stuck each of them through a piece of scrap cardboard and primed. This step is key — most metallic spray paints I’ve used won’t stick to naked plastic. Let dry for a couple of hours in the sun.

gold push pin DIYNext, it was time to go for the gold. This painting portion actually took about four steps/coats because the pushpins are such a weird shape. I have to spray from each side as well as the top to make sure all the rainbow-bright colors were completely covered up. Then I let them dry for a full 25 hours outside to cure any stickiness.

gold push pin DIY

Ta-da! I love the finished result — it makes the whole bulletin board look more pulled together.

I used the same technique to paint the drawer pull, and it also turned out nicely. (It’s just hard to take an inspiring photo of a drawer pull.)

So there you have it — the easiest little decor DIY ever.

What is everyone else working on?

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Don’t stop be(d)lieving…

You know how sometimes you just stop believing that something is ever going to happen for you?

Case in point: the last two winters. I don’t know about y’all, but I had quite literally given up hope it was ever going to get hot again. When I woke up to 40-degree weather this morning, that disbelief was reinforced.

That’s how I’ve been feeling about our bedroom. I was just plain ol’ convinced that it was just never going to come together.

Oh, what’s that? You want to hear the saga of our bed? Oh, I just couldn’t possibly regale you with this tale of tragedy and woe…but, sure, let’s do it.

It started on the first day of our move when the movers discovered it was actually impossible to navigate our headboard down our twisty little hallway to the bedroom. This wasn’t a huge shock — the headboard was of the storage variety, so it was pretty bulky. I had secretly been hoping to sell it for a few months because I wanted something more streamlined that would allow us more space to move around the room.

Careful what you wish for, chickadees.

Once we had confirmed that the bed wouldn’t fit, I started a more aggressive campaign to try to sell it.

You guys, if there is one thing I could teach you about Craigslist, it’s this: It is dang-near impossible to sell a bed on that sucker.

I say this as a self-professed Craigslist ninja. I have sold entire dining sets on Craigslist. I have sold massive, 400-pound china cabinets on Craigslist. I once sold a used rug on Craigslist.

I could not sell this bed.

You know what I could do? Almost sell it.

You just have to trust me that I am not exaggerating when I tell you I almost sold the bed four separate times. One potential buyer even came to the apartment, saw the bed, said he want it, left us a $100 deposit, and then went home and changed his mind and asked for 50 percent of the deposit BACK over Paypal. That was a dark day.

When a girl from Craigslist called and offered me peanuts to buy the bed (IF we would deliver it), I readily accepted if only because I NEEDED THIS TO BE OVER.

And I still didn’t really believe it had sold until Joey returned sans bed with cash in hand.

So after all that, the bed was sold. But I still had to wait a couple of weeks to order the new bed. In the meantime, Joey and I have been sleeping on the mattress. On the floor. Like heroin addicts. It’s super glamorous.

About three weeks ago, I finally ordered the new bed. About a week later, it arrived. The clouds parted. Angels sang. Bogey shed a tear or two. We finally had a bed?

Or did we???

I unpacked the side pieces and the platform slats first. No problems. Then I went to unpack the headboard, sliding it out of a long, thin box. As the last corner slipped free from the cardboard…it became instantly apparent that the entire corner was crushed beyond repair.

NO BED FOR YOU!

In the moment of black-out rage that followed my seeing that crushed corner, I can’t even tell you what was said. I’m guessing not anything pleasant.

The only bright side is that Overstock.com actually has a pretty competent customer service department. They quickly forwarded my complaint to the parts department, and two days later I had an email that a new headboard was on its merry way to me. And we just had to toss the old one — they didn’t need it back.

The new headboard arrived on Thursday. That pretty much ends the story (except a little anecdote about the UPS guy dropping it over our fence to crash-land on our patio table…because CLEARLY these things are so durable…the headboard was fine, fortunately)(for the UPS man)(and his life), and this weekend I was finally able to set up the bed and our bedroom at large.

So now, to reward you for sticking with our bed odyssey all this while, I present you with photos of the finished product:

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And for a little pizzazz, I added these beauties:

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Obviously the bedspread is still a bit wrinkled from being packed (and a couple of our pillows warped when we tried to wash them), but it’s still lightyears ahead of where we were last week. (AKA, on the floor.)

So it just goes to show, you should never give up the dream.

What did y’all accomplish this weekend?

How to Paint a Wood Table

It has been a while since we’ve had a good, ol’ fashioned how-to on the blog. Lucky for you guys, a fresh move is rife with possibilities for DIY. (I know, don’t you feel lucky?)

Anyway.

Before I begin the how-to, I have a confession: Joey and I are one of those horrible American couples who eat most of our meals in front of the TV. I know. We’re single-handedly breaking down humanity. I’m sorry.

We started our marriage with good intentions. The first couple of weeks, we ate dinner at the dinner table. Like grown-ups.

Then…we got cable.

And then we became your worst sitcom nightmare, slowly drifting closer and closer to the tube, plates in hand, promises that “it’s only this one time” drifting from our lips. By six months of wedded bliss, the “dining” table was used mostly for holding paper work or as a surface for whatever craft I was working on at the time.

RIP, dining table.

By our second apartment, we downsized to a small white kitchen table mostly for the sake of appearances. After a year of little to no use, I sold it and used the space for kitchen storage. I had no regrets.

So when we started looking for our next place, I made an agreement (with myself)(in my head): I would only buy a dining table if our apartment had a designated dining space. Otherwise, why bother with the pretense. And then…we succeeded in getting pregnant.

And when we found our sweet little 2-bedroom, definitely lacking in specific dining space, we were faced with a choice: pass on our bad habits to our offspring, or get creative with our furniture arrangement. Because, really, what kind of grown-ups are we if we can’t manage a family dinner at a table like the surgeon general has begged us to do?

But no amount of good intentions was going to expand our apartment, so we needed to think small. I started looking for tables on Craigslist that either came petite or had the ability to be folded down in some way. After a couple of weeks of scouring, I came upon a sweet little round number with fold-down sides — perfect. The only problem? While the legs were white, the top was that pale tan wood that I associate with farm tables from the early ’90’s. Definitely not going to work in our strictly white-and-dark-wood household. (Furniture colors is a household divide worthy of fair Verona, in my humble opinion.)

And so, after roughly one calendar year of preface, begins our how-to.

I started by lightly sanding (seriously, you’re mostly just wiping it down with a very fine-grit sandpaper) the table’s surface.

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From there, I used a small mohair roller and Glidden Duo Paint + Primer in a semi-gloss. When it comes to picking paint, I always refer to the expertise of whoever is working in Home Depot’s paint department. But in general, you want something with a semi-shiny finish for easy wiping, and a roller is better than a brush for the smoothest finish.

Two coats in...
Two coats in…

Also, don’t go crazy with your coats. It’s so much better to do 3-4 thin coats of paint than to glob on one or two thick coats that will never fully cure. Be patient. (I’m saying this mostly to myself, but it’s probably good advice for you guys too.)

I ended up doing three full coats and one touch-up coat. Don’t freak out if you feel like your roller is leaving a spongy texture in the paint — give it a few minutes to settle and then decide if your equipment is faulty.

You also want to not do what I did and make sure to bend down the sides before the paint finishes drying. This will enable you to paint those surfaces (which will be visible any time the table isn’t fully extended) without have the surface paint dry together over the cracks.

Mind the crack.
Mind the crack.

I had to sand my edges down a bit and then repaint them. Learn from my mistakes.

Anyway, once you’re done painting, it’s a good idea to let the table sit for at least 24-48 hours before putting anything on top. Mine dried fast enough that I could at least attach the legs and move it inside (since the weather forecast originally predicted rain), but I had to touch up the top when I got overambitious and added a vase of flowers so I could take the below photo. Darn me and my incessant staging! But the point is, now it really looks like this:

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

Pretty, right? And it takes up very little space, especially with the sides folded all the way down.

I hope this baby appreciates all the work we’re already putting in to being good parents, ya know?

Was anyone else particularly industrious this weekend? Tell me what you’re working on!

Partial apartment reveal.

I have a feeling I’m going to jinx myself by even saying this out loud, but I feel like maybe, just maybe, I’m getting pretty good at this whole moving-and-starting-over thing.

In the past when Joey and I have moved, it has taken me months to years to get our apartment sorted out. This time around, I feel like I’m making much swifter progress. It helps that I spent an inordinate amount of time planning each room before we moved, but the fact is, things are gettin’ done.

I start the process by making a very in-depth to-do list every Friday. And when I say “in-depth,” I’m not messing around.

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List in hand, I can dive into the weekend with a very specific plan. Fortunately, enough, the last couple of weekends have been pretty open, so I’ve gotten most of each list done each time.

Now, enough talk! Show, don’t tell, as they say. Keep in mind, it’s not done-done, but it definitely feels a lot more like a living room than it did a few weeks back. You know, when it looked like this:

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Or even when it looked like this:

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And now, for those of you who keep asking me for pictures, here is what I’m coming home to this week:

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

As I said, not totally done. Joey and I also set up the desk this weekend, but all the cords and wires are still a little too unruly to be photo-ready — stay tuned.

All in all, I’m pretty pleased with how it’s coming along. We officially have no more boxes in the living room, so that alone is reason for celebration.

Coming up next, the how-to for our pretty new dining table. See ya tomorrow!

More like myself.

Do you ever stop to think about the little things in your life that make you you?

I don’t. Or, at least, I didn’t used to. Which is funny to me because, as you’ve probably worked out by now, I’m a fairly introspective person. I think a lot about what I feel and why I feel it and what do I wish would have happened and why is that important to me and what does that say about me as a human being.

It can be exhausting.

But as much thought as I put into those things, it’s really not until I suddenly don’t feel like myself that I start to analyze who (or what) exactly I am.

For example, we moved a few weeks ago. (Yuck.) Not on the list of my favorite ways to spend a weekend, but the real worst part of moving to me is that your life is in complete disorder for at least a couple of weeks. Clothes are in random boxes in random rooms, dishes are buried under boxes of towels, and the thought of cooking at home (and thereby increasing the already overwhelming mess) is enough to induce tears. (Or maybe that’s just me?)

So for a few weeks, you wear boring outfits because God only knows where your accessories (or even your favorite jeans) are. And you eat takeout for every meal until your Seamless delivery guy starts to call you by name. And you shuffle and sidle around boxes so much you almost forget what it’s like to walk in a straight line through your own dang living room.

Hypothetically, of course.

Of course, I know that these things bother me, but it wasn’t until this weekend that I really started to analyze why. It wasn’t until I finally cleared away the majority of the boxes, set up our kitchen, and organized my clothes. When Joey and I had finally blocked off the living room and tossed the mound of cardboard molding on our patio. And suddenly…we could actually live in our apartment.

And immediately I started to feel more like myself.

Which…is weird? Because it’s not like you ever stop being yourself. But I had stopped being me in the way I define it. As someone who stays very organized. Who plans their outfits and puts some effort into their hair. Who can make their own breakfast before leaving the house. Who can walk from the kitchen to the bathroom without risking life and limb.

And maybe these are silly, surface things. So maybe I’m a silly, surface person. (See what I mean about the dangers of introspection?)

Now, I’m of course being a bit dramatic here. When I say “what defines me,” I am perfectly aware that there are myriad other things that make up who I am besides the fact that I appreciate a well ordered linen closet and shoes that perfectly mismatch with an outfit. But there’s something to be said for how having those things makes me feel — about my life and myself.

Which made me wonder…what are your things that make up you? Look at it like a desert island game: If you could only have five things every day to make you feel human, what would they be?

Judgment-free zone — there’s no way your list is shallower than a 1-inch curling iron.

Planning the Patio

It’s supposed to be marginally warmer today, so I’m trying to think all the spring thoughts I can.

And that means dreaming about our new patio! I mentioned yesterday that the patio/yard is one of the best features of our new apartment, and Joey and I are both excited about the possibilities of barbecues, al fresco dinners, and not having to walk Bogey down four flights of stairs every time he needs to pee.

Naturally, we’ve both started thinking about what we would like to do with the space. Here are a few of our initial ideas.

Outdoor Styling

I’d love to turn half of the patio into a seating/dining area with storage benches and a table we can seat at least six around when company comes over. I’d also like to grow a few of our own herbs (a project I undertook a few years ago indoors with…questionable results)(bugs, they spawned bugs), possibly from hanging planters on the chain link fence.

Joey almost immediately started pricing small grills on Craigslist, a project I fully endorse since we have more than enough room and burgers are delicious.

Finally, I’d move our string lights (currently hanging from our curtain rod in the living room) outdoors whenever we wanted a little mood lighting.

The real question is what to do with the dirt patch side of the yard. Ideally, I’d like at least part of it to be grass for the Boges, but that leads to the question of maintenance — we’re not buying a lawn mower. So maybe…mulch? Rocks? I’d like a couple tomato plants on the other half of the dirt, and maybe some other easy-to-grow-and-hard-to-kill veggies. I’m open to suggestions!

Good news.

Fraaaaands! First, I want to formally apologize for being such a Grumpy Gus the last few posts. Ugh, stress. But in a weirdly-unlike-me-because-things-rarely-just-work-out-for-me twist, I had two of my major stresses resolve last Friday. One had to do with work (blah blah blah) and the other had to do with our apartment situation.

WE FOUND A PLACE!

Even better, we found a place that, while I would be a dirty liar if I said it was actually perfect, is pretty great for a lot of reasons.

Reason #1: It has an extra room, SIX closets, and THREE additional storage areas (a boiler room, a closed off staircase, and an unfinished back room that will henceforth be known as the garage). It’s actually ridiculous how much storage space we have. The bedrooms are actually probably a tiny bit too small, but because we now only have to put a bed and a dresser in it, it really doesn’t matter that much.

Reason #2: It has a YARD. Not a big yard, but half of it is a cement patio (helloooo, summer shindigs) and the other half is dirt that we can do whatever we want with. I would love to make some of it grass for the Boges and the rest a couple tomato plants or something, but I’ll keep you posted.

Reason #3: It’s the basement of a house, but because the door opens in the back to the yard, we have our own private entrance. I am quite over buildings, y’all.

Reason #4: Our landlords are the sweetest little Italian couple you could possibly imagine. A few of the first things they said to us were, “You can stay as long as you want, we will never raise your rent” and “If you need anything, you call me and I run! You see how close I am? I run!” It’s like having our grandparents live a few houses away.

Reason #5: It’s only $25 a month more than what we were paying before, meaning we might actually be able to build up a respectable savings account over the next couple of years.

I’m going to be totally honest: It’s a little…er…cozy apartment. We’ll have to keep it neat to keep it from feeling cramped. But I’m thinking those NINE storage areas will probably help.

Anyway, I am very excited. AND I realized there’s one space I still need to plan — the patio! Stay tuned for updates.