One Room Challenge Fall 2017: Let’s talk about walls. And my standards of ‘not so bad’.

Stop me if you’ve heard this story before (if you’re new to this blog, then it’s sure to be a riveting story): we bought this house from some house flippers that covered all the plaster walls with drywall. The walls looked nice, but projected farther than the baseboards and it irked the hell out of me. A few years ago, I started removing drywall, room by room, to expose varying horrors underneath.

This guest room is the 7th room in the house that I’ve been repairing in earnest and for some reason, although I have gotten a pretty good handle on it, I felt serious avoidance to putting the work in. Like, I found all sorts of other activities to do instead of work on those walls. Working my actual job longer days, watching kids movies (Hocus Pocus for the win) and idk, my fucking taxes? Basically, anything seemed better.

I removed the drywall and screws, and introduced the room.

But not myself? Which should be the biggest indicator of who I am. My name is Madeline, I am not a designer or real blogger (as evidenced by my many posting faux pas) and I am renovating my 100+ year old home as a hobby. I do all these projects by myself because my husband has no interest in them. I love hyperbole and pink.

Now back to the room.

Last week I scraped off the faux finish. What I was left with was the room with the least amount of cracks on the ceiling and walls, although I was still gifted with some huge chunks of wall/ceiling missing, cracks and tons of screw holes. And a seriously growing hatred for all the previous owners. The worst. Whenever I would get my dusty clothes on and mix up some mud, I barely worked on it and would abandon the walls for wine and justifications that I still have weeks.

That is the beauty that is the One Room Challenge though. Thanks to Linda, from Calling it Home, for creating this event. And all the amazing and inspiring participants! I can’t give ya’ll an ugly and crumbling room and I am running out of time.

Continue reading “One Room Challenge Fall 2017: Let’s talk about walls. And my standards of ‘not so bad’.”

One Room Challenge Fall 2017: Procrastination is expensive and also my default setting

Welcome back!

To brush you up, the One Room Challenge is a bi-annual event that is hosted by Linda from Calling it Home which facilitates bloggers choosing a room in need of love and 5 weeks to share progress and then a reveal. It’s such a great opportunity to GET SHIT DONE, and there’s so much support from fellow participants. It gives me all the fuzzies.

As per my routine, I announced that I would complete this project in a short amount of time, then I went and did other things – not related to my project.

And there I was, minding my own avoidance business and I was like “Oh shit! The roman shades!”

You see, I purchased the last 4 1/2 yards of Rose Gold Regency fabric from Tonic Living (here’s the gold version) a few months ago, and then it sat in it’s packaging.

Sometimes (all the time) in my head, once I have made a decision about something in my brain, it’s done? But not actually in reality.

So I reached out to someone on Etsy about sending the fabric and having shades made, and the price was reasonable and I was like great! Then I went to purchase the listing and the estimated time was 6-8 weeks. NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO.

Continue reading “One Room Challenge Fall 2017: Procrastination is expensive and also my default setting”

That one time I got a table saw and built my own furniture.

Oh, heyyyyyyyyy.

Are you sick of me yet?

Too bad. I wrote another post.

The post is a story about me. I’m very self involved.

So, a long time ago, I picked up a credenza from craigslist and modified it to make it a media console. Then, during the one room challenge when I did my living room, I made a different media console. I put some longer legs on the craigslist credenza and moved it into my dining room.

And that was fine, but that’s all. It was too deep and not long enough.

Then, one day, it wasn’t fine any longer.

I wrote down some scribbles for measurements, and went to Home Depot.

Continue reading “That one time I got a table saw and built my own furniture.”

One Room Challenge Fall 2017: Dark and cozy guest room

Well, damn. That was a long and unintended blog hiatus.

It was really more of an internet hiatus, if I’m being honest. It is depressing out there right now.

I seem to have two modes: On the couch with Netflix and wine or full blown DIY mania. I am 100% back on my bullshit.

I haven’t really been sure how to start, so, why not jump back in with a One room challenge?

Continue reading “One Room Challenge Fall 2017: Dark and cozy guest room”

Lemonade. And muriatic acid.

Hey. So I pretty much fell off the internet for a few months there.

I mean, like ALL the internets.

Sometimes it’s like everything is fine and normal and then an event happens and suddenly it becomes a time to for deep self reflection and big kid decisions, and it sucks and it’s really hard, but also really important.

I wasn’t capable of focusing on external relationships, and I’m really sorry that I wasn’t available to support my blog friends for a while. I have a lot of blog posts to read.

I wasn’t really capable of doing much at all – especially projects around the house.

So when I received my modernica planter in the mail and the ceramic was severely broken, I kind of shrugged. I did send an email to the shop that I purchased it from, and they were super helpful and sent me out a new one (it took 2 months for that) and told me I could keep the broken one. I didn’t have much energy for it more than that though. It sat broken in the box that whole 2 months.

Anyways, I want to feel better and more like myself, so I fixed that motherfuckin’ broken planter.


Mind. Explodes.

I bought some gorilla glue and did not read the instructions where it states to wet the surfaces and that it expands. I blame my internet provider for that one – I was on the phone with customer service trying to troubleshoot my broken internet while I glued it back together.

Whoops. It spread everywhere.dsc_1621-2dsc_1623-2

I used a putty knife and razor blades to scrape off the excess and then used sandpaper to rough up the rest of the surface and then wiped it down with some TSP.

The next part can be done for any basic terracotta planter for a quick change. I was inspired by this planter from CB2 – but not the price.

I picked up some Henry’s feather finish from Home Depot and mixed up a small amount and spread it on the planter with a joint knife, and it looked like a disaster initially.'DIY concrete planter' 'feather finish' 'DIY concrete planter' 'feather finish'


It took 3 coats to smooth it all out – I just used my hands around the lip of the planter.'DIY concrete planter' 'feather finish' 'DIY concrete planter' 'feather finish'

After giving it time to dry, I used 80 grit and then 220 grit sandpaper on my orbital sander to smooth any bumps. After sanding, I cleaned the dust off with TSP and then hosed it off. 'DIY concrete planter' 'feather finish'

I had read on the internet about using muriatic acid to etch concrete. Since I had a bottle available (what? doesn’t everyone?) I figured that I would try it. I mixed it up 3:1 water to acid and sprayed it on with a little hand sprayer. It bubbled and then I washed it off with some baking soda/water mixture and then hosed it all down. It didn’t really do anything as far as the variation in the color? I guess it’s mostly to prep the surface for sealers. Which, I chose not to bother doing and left it raw.'DIY concrete planter' 'feather finish'

And fixed planter! That snake plant is so much happier in a bigger planter. It was giving me major stank face for a while there.'DIY concrete planter' 'feather finish' 'DIY concrete planter' 'feather finish' 'DIY concrete planter' 'feather finish'

I finally got my dining room fixture up. It took 6 months, and that’s a long story for another post.'triple seven home'

This week has been pits of despair after the election, but I hope to continue to come back. I’ve missed you.



I’m feelin’: Candlestick holders

In order to motivate myself to drag out lumber and power tools to build a storage unit for my dining room, I’ve started contemplating the decorations for the top of it. I have been loving the look of candlestick holders – here are a few that caught my eye.




When a project seems too easy, and that stresses you out, and then you tell yourself to shut up and just enjoy it

Now that the dining room moulding is up and painted, it is finally time to add some art! The walls have been blank for years now.

Most of my projects come with a slew of unforeseen problems that require a lot more time, trips to the hardware store and problem solving. Seriously. I just spent 4 hours re-doing the curtain rods in my dining room. I (wrongfully) assumed that the screw holes in the brackets were linear and that caused a slight tilt that made the acrylic bow. Some of the screw holes are off centered. And one cannot simply drill a hole in plaster. Oh, no. There’s an 85% chance that it will crumble and make a massive hole. Which then requires ginormous toggle bolts. And bigger holes. And patching. And painting.

ANYWAYS. Those bitches are secure now. I could probably do pull ups on them. You know, if I ever did pull ups. Or, could do more than one.

After looking at some art online, I decided to order this print from Minted: 'The Good, The Bad & The Ugly' 'minted'In the 24″ x 18″size. Somehow the day that I clicked on the site to purchase, it had an option for no white border and the print covering the whole space? Where’d that option go? Witchcraft.

The colors are beautiful. I was surprised by how much my husband liked it, too. In super healthy relationship fashion, I didn’t consult with him before purchasing.

Since I worked hard on those wall panels, I didn’t want to completely cover them with a large frame.

Then I remembered that I had favorited this etsy shop, some unknown amount of time ago.

Now, this listing is for the acrylic sheets and the hardware. Add in $45 for shipping and $184 is no small amount. Which is not to say that it’s not worth it, but when the shop suggested an option to DIY, I was all over that. I purchased the small brass standoffs for $34 and 2 30″ x 28″ acrylic sheets from Lowes for, like, $30ish?

Since purchasing the sheets from Lowes would not give me the custom measurements purchasing from the etsy shop would give me, I also purchased this Olfa plastic cutter.IMG_1548

Let’s revisit my previous statement about my projects usually taking a left turn. I figured that me trying to cut down acrylic would somehow affect the time/space continuum and a vortex would open and swallow the state of Minnesota. Not accurate? Idk. I’m not a scientist.

I was super pleased when cutting down acrylic sheets was a breeze. Like. So easy.

I added 2″ to each side of my art for the acrylic frame – so I kept the 28″ as is and cut down the 30″ to 22″.

First, I marked off my 22″ with sharpie (keep the protective plastic on).

Since I didn’t have a long enough straight edge, and I just accidentally snapped my 4 foot level, I used a spare piece of lumber. I clamped it all down nice and tight to a table and scored along the lumber multiple times, alternating direction. IMG_1542 IMG_1547

I scored along the lumber multiple times, alternating direction.

IMG_1551 IMG_1552

When I had a deep groove (like 10 passes or so), I unclamped it and moved it so that the excess was hanging over the edge of the table. From that point, it took a very small amount of pressure for it to snap right off. IMG_1554

When my pieces were cut to size, I lined them up together and clamped them down with some spare lumber underneath. I marked off my holes (1″ from the edges) with a sharpie, on top of the plastic.IMG_1560 IMG_1563

Drilling the holes was easy! I used a 3/8 bit and a little water with soap (to minimize friction and chipping) and used medium speed/pressure.

The whole process probably took 30 minutes – and saved a lot of money to boot.IMG_1604 IMG_1606 IMG_1609

I am way over my tentative 6 week dining room ‘challenge’ but I’m feeling really ok about that. I have been working on things at a steady and relaxed pace, without breaking my back (or checking account) and I’ve still had lots of time outside and chilling.

I am having such an excellent summer with my daughter out of school (I’m still working full time, boo hiss) and it seems like maybe they really do get better with age. Years 3 and 4 were particular lows for pleasant interactions. It’s a wonder that any parents keep them past that age.

In other important-to-no-one-else news: the light fixture is still not shipped out. Any inquires are answered with a vague ‘we will ship it out soon’. I’m kind of a lot bummed. I ordered from the company a couple of years ago, and since then, they have gotten a great reputation in the blogosphere. I feel conflicted because I don’t want to make a big deal about it, but the communication is seriously lacking. I feel like if the company is going to be 5+ weeks past the original ship date – they should reach out to the customer and let them know. And probably set new shipping expectations.

It’s the light fixture that I want, so I guess I’ll have to find some inner zen and be patient.'TripleSevenHome Ursula'

I swear, put something shiny in front of me and it takes over my brain and I forget all else.

Still want to read about relatively non-important things?

Cool. I got you.

I finally pulled the trigger and ordered a Modernica Case Study planter to put under the aforementioned artwork.

I was thinking that I would put my snake plant in there, but I quite like it on the credenza. So then I thought maybe a cactus?


There are a lot of cacti varieties.

I’m sure you’re all like: ‘well, duh, Madeline. Everyone knows that.’

and I’m all: NO, guys. A LOT OF CACTI.

If you can believe it, there aren’t a ton of cactus nurseries local to Minnesota. So I’ll have to do any ordering online.

Any thoughts on your favorite cactus? Be sure to include its full and proper name. JK. No, really, please do that.

Then a few days after I ordered the modernica planter. I was like: NO.

That actually belongs with the new fiddle fig in my front room.

Now I need a planter for the dining room. Before the 1st one has even shipped.

I’m the WORST.

I think the retro bullet planter will be just the match for some cacti.


Someone… buy these rugs.


Even though I said that I wasn’t going to get a rug for the dining room, I can’t be trusted and I’ve been looking on ebay casually. I spotted these ones and think the colors are so great, but they are all too small for my dining room.

Since I can’t have them all, my next best option is for someone else to buy them, send me pretty pictures of them and then I can burn in a jealous rage.











What I’m on: July 2016

Making: Currently, nothing. I just finished the moulding in the dining room, my hands are feeling restless and my anxiety is rising. I should take up whittling and carve my own egg and dart.

Cooking: Chocolate chip cookies. You guys, the recipe on the back of the milk chocolate Ghirardelli chocolate chips is so good. I use this ungodly expensive organic local butter (it’s like $8 and super high fat) but they are delicious.

Drinking: As much cheap pinot grigio that I can get my greedy little hands on, per the ush. I wish that I could pretend that I was classy, but, I’m not. I like my $4 bottles of wine. When my husband brought home a $6 bottle once, I almost slapped it out of his hands on principle.

Reading: I just finished The Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson, it has a lot more of a religious theme than I usually read, but it was a very interesting take on the traditional love story.

Wanting: Art for the dining room! I saw this piece from Minted and I loved the colors used.

Enjoying: Sitting poolside with a book. Ya’ll. I can sit down on a bench and read while my daughter continues her never ending search for another family to join while enjoying the wading pool. It’s awesome and life is much improved.

Listening: Bishop Briggs – I am looking forward to a full album. It’s so soulful, but bangs.

Needing: These plates and cutlery from CB2 to fulfill all my dining room dreams of a perfectly set table and food that is bountiful and cooks itself.

Wearing: As little clothing as is societally acceptable, tbh. We’ve had a heat wave in MN (high 90s) and it has been HOT for us. I don’t have a/c in my house and had to scramble to install the two little window units that we haven’t used in a couple of years. I was sweating BEHIND MY KNEES.

Watching: I just finished season 1 of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. Musicals aren’t really my thing, but the songs are ridiculous enough that it works.

Bookmarking: This post by Mary at ilikeitlovely – I did not know you could paint upholstery with chalk paint (in fact, I’ve never actually used chalk paint. The $30 paint brushes kind of offend my sensibilities.) The pink chairs in my living room are looking a little worse for wear and there is no money for re-upholstering them right now. So I think I might give them a coat of paint and wax and see how that works out. I need another project, anyways.

Feeling: Like this summer is going by so quickly. I am enjoying it so thoroughly, and I think this has been the best summer so far with the kids (fewer tears and petty squabbles than ever before!), but I am sad that it’s almost over and then back to the school grind.


I had a little birdie, her name was Enza…

"farrow ball down pipe" "panel moulding" "panel molding"

I opened up the window,



I had that nursery rhyme stuck in my head when I was in a feverish state. Which, FYI, is a sub-par way to spend a week long staycation.

None the less, I was surprisingly productive.

In the month of July, I take a week off of work in observance of my birthday. That probably makes it seem like I make a huge deal of my birthday, but, I actually don’t even expect presents, or endless admiration of my existence or anything of the such. My twin sister and I usually high five and call it good.

It’s just a good reason for me to chill and enjoy some good weather in MN. I usually work on some projects around the house, too – last year I worked on building a pantry.

I clearly don’t know how to vacation or birthday. Next year, someone save me from myself.

Side note: Since we turned 30 this year (I’ve been told numerous times that this is a big deal), we went out clubbing on a whim (after I had spent 6 hours painting moulding.) It was a lot of fun. The recovery was less fun.

The only photographic evidence that this event occurred.

What moulding, you may ask? Ok. So you’re probably not asking. But I’m going to tell you regardless. I’m pretty self-centric like that.

As I was putting up the casing and header in the dining room, I was feeling pretty pleased with myself and ability to cut 45 degree angles and decided to add a little something to the walls.

I went to my local lumberyard to look at what was available. I originally wanted 3/4″ half round – but they didn’t have any available. So I went with 3/4″ x 1/4″ screen, since it was narrow and had an eased edge.

It ended up taking time, but was one of my easiest projects I’ve done, and pretty inexpensive. Way, way less time consuming and physically exhausting than mudding and sanding plaster walls. That shit is just brutal. Oh, wait. I already did that in the dining room. These walls had better appreciate my efforts.

I almost forgot the room used to look like this:043

And that was after a lot of work.

In case anyone cares:

Here are the things that I had to work with when planning the placement of the moulding:

  • 4 walls – 3 windows and 2 large openings to other rooms
  • None of the windows/headers are the same height (besides the two matching windows)
  • None of the spaces are the same width for equal spacing of the panels

Simple rectangles seemed the easiest. I decided to use the spacing of 3″ from walls/baseboards/casing and 6″ (5 1/4″ actual) between the screen moulding. With this, the areas that were largest would get 3 rectangles and the smaller areas would get 1 or 2, dependent on the width of the area. The height was just eyeballing it and shrugging, marked it off and then used the level around the room. It made the maths fairly easy. Space -6″= outer rectangle width (-12″= middle rectangle width, – 12″= inner rectangle width.)

The greatest gift I gave myself with starting this project, was renting this lazer level from Home Depot for 4 hours. I used it to make the painting line in Ry’s room for the One Room Challenge.IMG_1492

It’s super frustrating to get it absolutely level, but once you do, it’s quick to mark out all the lines. It took me about 3 hours in total – but I got 5 absolutely level lines all around the room. I just went around with a marker and short level and traced them.

From there, it was mathing out the width and then cuts, cuts and more cuts. Then even more.

I purchased 53 8′ pine screen moulding pieces and it was 152 cuts that made it up on the walls. That’s not including the maaaaaaaaaaaaaaaany miss-cuts that I made.IMG_1493

I got a ton of splinters, to boot.

Like, I know that an inanimate object like a thermostat just hanging there shouldn’t illicit feelings of contempt and rage in a person, but I am perhaps mentally unhappy, and it did. I am SO happy that I finally moved it to the stairwell in the basement, hidden, where things of shame should go.

Once all the screen was all nailed up with my brad nailer, the holes got spackled, sanded and primed. Then 3 (!) coats of Farrow and Ball Down Pipe in the Estate Emulsion. I had claw hands and had to go over the whole walls with the last coat, because this gallon is a slightly different color than the last one, and it’s still a little splotchy. Thanks for nothing, super expensive paint.

It took FOR.EV.ER to paint.

The radiator still needs to be painted, too, it got a coat of gray spay paint primer (thus the newspaper on the floor.) But I’m giving that remaining paint the major side eye. And that whole radiator sitch, in general. IMG_1502

It’s very subtle, but I like it.IMG_1521 IMG_1513 IMG_1505 IMG_1533 IMG_1536 IMG_1541

Still on the list is building a new credenza, scrubbing the floor, art etc. I am thinking about putting crown moulding up, too, but haven’t decided on a profile yet.

I like the idea of a rug in here, but it would be ruint in nanoseconds.

Also, maybe my light fixture will arrive someday? I ordered it 8 weeks ago, and I’m starting to be concerned that I only ordered it in a very realistic delusional state not based in reality. The lead time was 5-6 weeks, and last I heard, it was supposed to have shipped out over a week ago (did not happen.) It’s been kind of frustrating and disappointing with the lack of communication.

I ain’t mad at those walls tho.