DIY Woven Burlap Headboards

DIY Woven Burlap Headboard

Before we moved, in an effort to squeeze a lot of kids in a tiny space, I bought these beds so we could store their clothes unerneath:

south shores chocolate twin bed

It looks handy to use in the photo with the covers all tucked in.  In real life we like our covers to hang over the sides of the bed, which would get caught in the drawers.  We now store bedding in the drawers and their clothes in baskets in the closet.

Boy's closet after 1

The beds aren’t super high quality, but they’ve survived moving twice and are the perfect height off the floor for young boys.  If you consider these beds in your own home, have a plan from the start for replacing the drawer pulls.  They are sharp enough to draw blood if you bump it just right.

In an effort to use what we already have (to stay within budget) I knew I’d be keeping the beds for the room refresh.  I wanted them to have a headboard to ground the bed area, but it had to be inexpensive and short enough to fit below the window.

This headboard from Peir 1 Imports was my inspiration.  I still love it a little more than my DIY headboards, it was just out of our price range and too tall for this project.

Pier 1 Seagrass Headboard

I had originally planned to buy enough jute rope to weave a smaller headboard just like this one, but the cost was prohibitive.  Instead I purchased 5″ wide burlap ribbon with finished edges to weave with.  It was less than $10 a headboard and still gave the texture I was hoping for.

Head board frame

I used the same 1×4 pine from the picture frame in yesterday’s post to build a simple rectangle for the headboard frame and pocket hole joined it together.  It was all going to be hidden, so I didn’t worry about mitering the edges or anything fancy.

Gluing the burlap in place

Then I hot glued strips of the burlap ribbon to cover the frame.  I had to hold it in place for a few minutes until the glue set to make sure it was stretched tightly.  That was HOT!

Gluing bed frame

I figured out I could use a plastic shopping bag to protect my hand from the heat.  The bag peeled off pretty well from the glue without leaving a mark.

weaving bed frame

Then I went back the other direct with the ribbon and wove it through, securing the ends on the back side with more hot glue.

Finished Headboard

Here it is all finished.  They’ve been using it for a couple of months and the burlap has gotten a little stretched out on the edges.  If it doesn’t hold up for the long term, the frame will be easy to upholster in a more traditional fashion.

Woven burlap headboard

The original plan was to just screw the headboard to the wall, but I prefer how it looks with the curtains flowing behind it.  For now I have it propped up inside the bed frame, but am working on a hanging system that will secure it a few inches from the wall and high enough to touch the trim of the window.  I’ll update when I figure it out.

Have you ever made a headboard?  I’d love to hear how you did it.

Easy DIY Rustic Pine Picture Frame

Easy DIY Rustic Pine Picture Frame

When I was searching for inspiration for our shared boy room, I found a photo of this rustic frame and loved it instantly.  I needed a custom size to fit the canvas map I ordered from and to save money, I built it myself.  The map price fluctuates, I paid $29.

Here’s a close-up of the corner detail:

boys frame closeup


2 boards of 1x2x6 select pine $2.57 each

2 boards of 1x4x6 select pine $4.24 each

sliding compound miter saw (but a mitre box would work)

pocket hole jig

electric drill

self tapping screws

Face clamps

Wood glue

Distressing tools (a bag of screws and a rough in hammer)

Wood Stain I used minwax provincial

Picture hangers

I had everything but the pine on hand, so this project cost me $13.62

  1.  Measure your picture, leaving some room for the picture to overhang the frame on the back and decide in the INSIDE measurements of your frame.   Then cut 2 lengths of wood with 45 degree angles like this:

Mitre corners for picture frame

Cut 2 more in a similar fashion to match the measurement of the height of the frame.

2.  Drill pocket holes onto the back side of your wood.  Take your time with this.  On my last piece I drilled holes on the front of one side and the back of the other.  There was no way to fix it without buying new wood.  Since it was a rustic frame and I’m cheap, I assembled it with the holes on the front and filled it with a plug.  You’ll never see it unless you look for it….but it happened.   If you don’t want to use a pocket hole jig, you can glue and staple it together.  Tutorial here.

3.  Clamp the 45 degree edges together to a piece of scrap board and use your self-tapping screws to assemble the frame.  I didn’t use glue here.  It’s up to you.


Here’s a video that was helpful to me:

4.  The top pieces are going to be glued and clamped into place.  Cut 2 pieces of 1×2 the length of your frame (red), then cut 2 pieces the inside width and 2 tiny pieces for the outside corners (blue).  I’ve outlined the wood pieces here to make it easier to understand.

Wood trim for frame

5. At this point, I recommend stopping and distressing and staining your wood now.  If during the gluing process any glue squeezes out onto the face of the wood (it always does), the wood won’t take stain there.  Even if you wipe it off before the glue dries.  I didn’t do this and have some naked spots on my frame.

To distress the wood I whacked it with a rough edge hammer and a bag of screws a few times.  Here’s a more detailed tutorial on distressing wood.

6. Now it’s time to glue your trim wood to the face of the frame.  Add a wavy bead of glue then clamp the first trim piece in place.  After 30 minutes you can remove the clamps and glue the next section.  I only had 2 clamps so this part took the longest.  The trim hid one of my mistake pocket holes completely and partially covered the other one.  Whew.


7.  Typical frames have a rabbet to give an inset space to hold glass and a backing (instructions here.)  Since I wasn’t using glass or a backing, I didn’t mess with a rabbet and just duct taped my picture to the frame.

duct tape picture to frame

I used small pieces to get it stretched into place, then taped the rest of the way around for security before hanging.

8.  Nail in the picture hangers and hang it up :).

Boy's Frame

I’m pretty proud of how it turned out, considering my first try at building something turned out like this:


It took me a few years to get the nerve to try building again. I’m so glad I didn’t give up completely.  I built 4 more things from wood for the shared boy room and saved a BUNDLE in the process.  I’ll show you about them soon.

I love the frame so much I’m thinking of other places I could use one.  Like over the fireplace in Darren’s new office with a chalkboard and inspirational scripture: “Whatsoever you do, do it all for the glory of God.”  I’ll have to figure out rabbets for this one.

Darren's office fireplace view tv

How about you?  Would you ever consider building a picture frame?







DIY Faux Magnolia Wreath

DIY Magnolia Wreath
I’m a big fan of Chip and Joanna Gaines.  So big that I paid $10 on Amazon to watch Season 2 of Fixer Upper after I saw Season 1 three times.  During the third round of season 1 Darren said, “Haven’t we seen this one before?”  I just smiled and handed him some popcorn.   Season 2 didn’t disappoint.  Chip had me screaming, laughing, and cringing and Joanna made me want to appreciate my kids a little bit more.

Greenery breathes life into a room. If I step back in a space and feel like something’s missing, a plant usually fixes it.  I’m not great at keeping plants alive, so I’m ok with using realistic looking faux.

When I saw Joanna’s Magnolia Wreath used in season 1, I loved it.  I clicked over to her site to check buying options and saw the $95 price tag. The reviews were mixed.  I added it to my Christmas list knowing it was way out of budget. After Christmas, Joanna sent out a 20% off coupon! I added the wreath to my cart and calculated the new price $76 (plus shipping). … I still couldn’t do it.  Sigh.

Magnolia Wreath 3

This room hasn’t been updated since 1972.  It features lime green sculpted carpet, a popcorn ceiling and lightly patched and stained walls.  Somehow the wreath makes it easier to wait a little bit longer for the changes to come. 

I searched Pinterest for tutorials on how to make a homemade magnolia wreath and they all started with Magnolia leaves that you pick off the tree in your yard……. Kansas City in January is a terrible place to look for fresh Magnolia in your yard.  My next stop was Hobby Lobby to see if I could buy paper Magnolia leaves.  You can’t, but they have Magnolia garlands that every few weeks go 50% off.  They also have Magnolia bushes that you can separate into leaves if you want a tidier looking wreath like Joanna’s.  I made a wild looking wreath with the garland and LOVE IT.  I love it so much I made a second smaller one for our other living space. (I used to have a moss covered C here, but the wreath is better scaled for the space.)

Magnolia wreath over fireplace

Supplies for the large wreath ($19.80):

24 inch grapevine wreath form  (40% off = $4.80)

2-6 foot Magnolia Garlands (50% off = $15)

Wire Cutters

Floral Wire

Supplies for the small wreath ($10.50):

18 inch grapevine wreath form. (40% = $3.00)

1-6 foot Magnolia Garland (50% off = $7.50)

Wire Cutters

Floral Wire

If you don’t have wire cutters and floral wire on hand Dollar Tree carries both. Their wire cutters are a little dull but get the job done.)

All you do is wire the two together.  It couldn’t be easier!  On the larger wreath, I attached one garland around the outer edge of the wreath and the smaller one towards the inner edge.  I like how it went around more than once on the inner circle and made the wreath asymmetrical.  On the smaller wreath, I attached the garland closer to the center of the wreath form.  Once it’s all attached bend the leaves so they make a pleasing shape.

If you want a less wild looking wreath ($31.80), you’ll need 3 of the magnolia bushes (50% off = $27) and a 24 inch grapevine wreath.  Use the wire cutters to snip off your leaves and hot glue them to the grapevine frame one row at a time.  The original wreath has about 75 leaves in it, 3 bushes will give you 90 leaves to work with.  When you think about the amount of time it took someone to make the wreath, the cost of raw materials, and the overhead they have, $95 starts to make more sense.  If you can afford it, it’s always nice to support a family business.

Not that you need it for something so simple, but I made a short video showing you how I made the wreath.


What do you think?  Do you use wreaths in your home decor?



How to Use Pinterest to Discover your Design Style

how to use pinterest to discover your design style

Do you know your design style?  Are you a little bit modern or country?  Do you like lots of decorations or prefer a minimalistic style?  White walls, dark walls, neutral or bold?  Painted trim, or stained wood? For some of us it’s hard to decide.

I can appreciate any well decorated space, so I made the mistake in our last home of combining too many styles in one room. Read more

Smart Tiles Installation and Review

Smart Tiles Installation and ReviewMix month is still going strong and I have a big line up for you next week!  But for the weekend I wanted to show you some progress I’m making in the girl’s bathroom. In July, I’ll have a whole month of house projects and frugal nesting ideas for you–this is just a sneak peek :).

Smart Tiles generously supplied the tiles for this post (after I begged them) and I honestly thought I would have it up and ready for them in April.  If you remember, the space looked like this–very green:

Girl's bathroom before

I stripped the wallpaper and the popcorn ceiling and was stuck with how to repair this:


…and many areas like it.  I finally hired a drywall guy to rescue me.  He was amazing and affordable and I wish I had called him months ago.

This week, I primed and painted the space.  It is white, white, white…from the ceiling to the floor.  To keep it from being boring and cold, I have lots of gold accents and dramatic floor to ceiling curtains planned. Plus texture from faux bamboo shades, terry cloth rugs, and hexagonal tiles.  These, to be exact. #onsalenow

I chose these tiles because I want the space done quickly without messing with concrete backer board, wet saws, adhesive or grout.  Yet, I needed something to look great, be durable, and create a waterproof area.  I was not disappointed.

Here’s a before and after picture:

Smart Tiles Before and After

The sink will eventually be white too.

I made a video for you showing how they work :).

Batch Cooking Ground Beef in Your Slow Cooker

Batch Cooking Ground Beef in your Slow Cooker

I first figured out this worked on a desperate day when I didn’t have a kitchen. The no kitchen season of our lives lasted almost a year and I relied on my slow cooker and electric griddle for making almost everything.

Since then, I’ve reused this method changing the seasoning to suit the dish.  Taco seasoning for batch taco meat. Italian seasoning for pizza or spaghetti.

Slow Cooked Ground Beef 1

Place up to 6 lbs of frozen ground beef and into the slow cooker.  Add 6 cups of water. (The water is just for broth, if you don’t want broth you can reduce the water to 1 cup.)  For flavor, add 2 finely chopped onions; 1 Tbs of salt; 1 tsp of garlic salt; and 1/2 tsp black pepper.

Slow Cooked Ground Beef 2

If the lid won’t close.  Don’t freak out.  Wrap the gap with aluminum foil. After about an hour the lid will  push down.

Slow Cooked Ground Beef 3

Cook it on low overnight, or on high for 4-5 hours. The beef won’t form crumbles as it cooks, but don’t worry.  It will be awesome in a minute.

Slow Cooked Ground Beef 4

 Use a colander and bowl system to drain out the broth.  If you chill the broth, any fat will harden on the top and can be easily removed.

Slow Cooked Ground Beef 5


Slow Cooked Ground Beef 6

Use a huge fork or a potato masher to break the meat into crumbles.   This also works if you put portions into freezer bags and mush it around with your hands–just like we did with the chicken yesterday.

Slow Cooked Ground Beef 7

Ready for the freezer!

No Sew Bedskirt

When we were redoing our room last month, I was surprised how many little details make a space feel finished.  The bedskirt is one of those.

Master Bedroom After

Our previous bed had a wooden frame that hid the box springs.  We were ready for a new look, so kept the headboard only and put the bed on metal rails.  I needed a fast, frugal solution for hiding the box springs.

I found an easy answer in 2 twin flat sheets from Walmart. ($4.88 each.)  1 sheet would have done it, but then there would have been sewing involved.

Here’s a quick video, explaining how it works.  Something more permanent could be made with velcro and hot glue.  I plan to do that soon.  The pins work well, but my kids come and stand by the bed to talk to me in the night and step on the bed skirt–which pulls out the pins… Changing the sheets was easier than I thought.  Just by remembering the skirt was a little fragile I could work around it without pulling it all apart.


master bedroom 1

Moss Covered Monogram

In the Cozy Minimalist class, I learned that plants breathe life into the room.  My family room is land locked and light deprived.  Real plants wouldn’t survive a week in this space, so a little creativity is in order. (The plants in the picture are fake IKEA plants.  Cute…but too small for the space?  I’m looking for a frugal way to overflow that shelf with green.)

painted fireplace moss letter

After some looking around pinterest, I thought a moss covered letter  on the new painted fireplace would be perfect.  The space above my fireplace isn’t huge–22 inches total.  So I opted with a 15 inch letter.  I could have gone SUPER frugal and cut a letter out of cardboard.  In the end I paid $5 to have a ready made letter because I wanted the depth.  you can see the side of it from the front door and it looks better to be thick and sturdy.

The fireplace still looks bare, so I’m thinking about garland options. Maybe I’ll make this when we drive to Colorado. Or this.

moss letter 9

This project took me 1 hour including driving to Hobby Lobby to get the letter $5 (50% off from $9.99.) And the moss sheet $6 (40% off coupon from $9.99.)  I also used scissors and a marker.  The project would have gone faster, but those sheets are extremely sticky and I kept getting caught in it like a mouse in a sticky trap.  I regret my decision not to film it, because I think it would have gone viral for how ridiculous it was….you’ve been warned.

moss letter a

Unfold your moss sheet and place your letter in the center.  I drew the lines on it with the marker and cut along it with scissors.  Then peeled off all the paper backing.

moss letter b

I pressed the letter onto the sticky moss.  At this point, it’s good to mention that you want the RIGHT side of your letter face down.  This is pretty important if your letter is directional, like a B.  Thank goodness that C’s are good both directions because I wasn’t super careful.  As you go, SAVE YOUR SCRAPS.  You’ll need them until the very end.  Then if you want, you can throw the mess away.

moss letter c

Then I started pressing up the moss and sticking it around the outside, trimming off the excess so it would lay flat agains the wall.  Where it curved, I snipped it to the letter then folded it up overlapping the excess while keeping it smooth. The cool thing about this project is the moss is so forgiving.  If you end up with a hole you can just stick a scrap in it and no one will be able to tell.

moss letter d

To go around the inside curves I snipped it like the outside, but this time instead of overlapping it left gaps of triangles. moss letter 1

moss letter 2

I just cut little triangle scraps and stuck them in to fill in the gaps.

moss letter 3

The corner ended up with a triangle flap.  I just cut it off flush.

moss covered letter 7


moss covered letter 5

I went super fancy on the hanger and hot glued a paper clip to the back. It’s such a lightweight piece that a paperclip is just the right thing.

Fireplace and moss letter

The Risk of Painting Brick


There are a lot of things I love about our family room.  It’s open concept so we can see the kitchen from our comfy sofa.  It’s big with lots of options for furniture placement.  It has yummy hand scraped hardwood floors and French doors leading out to a sunroom and room 2015

The room has a unique fireplace that was constructed from the bricks removed during the demolition of the old stock yards in downtown Kansas City.  The bricks are a good color tone with enough variation to give texture and interest without being gaudy.

Family room fireplace before

The room is dark.  It’s landlocked and even during the lightest part of the day, needs a light on for normal activity.   Even with the lights on it feels dark.wall dividing family room and kitchen

It was even darker before we painted over the dark olive beige with a pale gray.  Painted the trim white, and took down the wall between the family room and the kitchen.

removing wall between family room and kitchen

My gut has been telling me the dark brick has to go if I ever want a light and bright space. It’s so massive that it absorbs a ton of light, and the inside is stained black from soot.  I’ve tried several methods to clean it up, but it’s deep into the porous surface of the brick.  I’ve lightened it some but the stain is still there.

white french doors

In a last ditch effort to save the brick, I decided to paint the french doors white to bring in as much light as I can.  It helped a bunch and every time I walked by my heart gave a little leap of joy.  As much as the little things we did improved the space, it only made the dark brick stand out more…and not in a good way.

Fireplace end

When we took down the wall between the rooms, there was an unfortunate seam in the brick never meant to see the light of day.  I was imagining seeing the cute exposed brick wall from the front doors….but that seam is NOT cute.   We plan to cover it with a floor to ceiling chalkboard with a wide white frame all the way around. SOOOO since I was going to cover it up completely, I took a risk and tested a white wash technique first.

I loved it and hated it at the same time.  My mom told me it looked dirty, but my online friends from the Cozy Minimalist class told me it was beautiful.  I finally got up the nerve to start on the part that would be seen.

brick part way

I spent a few hours painting, and then wore out.  You can see the top left corner and the inside has been done.  At this point, I was pretty sure my mom was right and I had ruined it.  Then I remembered The Nester telling us, “You can’t ruin something you already hate.”  It took several weeks for me to find the nerve to finish the project.  I decided if I hated the whitewash look I would paint it solid white.

Fireplace and moss letter

The paint I chose tends to settle during the painting process, so the fireplace got lighter and lighter as I went on.  I had to go back over the places I started with to make it blend with the rest of the brick.  It ended up lighter overall than I had planned, but I love it anyway.

This is just an iphone picture, and doesn’t do the space justice.  The brick finally feels like it goes with the rest of the room.  I quick made a moss covered monogram to hang on the new whiter brick, and have plans to style up the space more with inspiration from here and here.

I’m KEEPING the original brick on the backside where it is exposed in the dining room.  Here’s a picture of the back side of the fireplace back during our construction phase.  I can’t believe I’ve never taken a picture from this direction “finished.”  Ok, we aren’t finished yet, my buffet table on the brick wall is still those stacked flooring boxes with a tablecloth on it. But we’ve made progress since this.

kitchen remodel dining space

Choosing the type of paint for the brick was a challenge.  Brick is hard to strip paint from, no matter what.  Latex paint CAN be removed from brick with this stripper or this one, but latex paint is not heat friendly.  My fireplace has a gas insert, and while it is too expensive for us to use right now, we have hopes one day to make it more efficient.  We didn’t want to permanently eliminated our option of ever using the fireplace again.  I thought about using latex only on the outside and using heat proof grill paint on the inside, but it only came in black.  Painting the massive inside of the fireplace black would fight against my goal of light and bright.


While searching for paint that is heat friendly, I came across milk paint.  Milk paint is permanent on brick. It soaks into the pores and becomes one with the material.  It doesn’t bubble, crack or peel when exposed to high temperatures.  And unlike traditional lyme white washing, milk paint won’t rub off on hands or clothes once it’s cured.  Going with this option meant never being able to go back to raw brick again.  That’s scary for me, because I’m kind of fickle when it comes to decorating.  I took the risk because letting fear trap me into keeping a look I hated was worse than never being able to go back.

There are lots of different brands of milk paint.  I chose this one because it keeps longer than the rest while still being REAL milk paint. Some milk paints are only good for 24 hours after mixing up, but this one lasts 6 weeks.  (I loved having a time limit though, or I might not have finished even now.)  The paints that are “like” milk paint but not really made with milk, I didn’t trust.  I wasn’t sure they would have the heat proof quality I was looking for.

The paint instructions say to mix it equal proportions with the powder and water.  I did that first to make sure the powdered mixed up well, then added 2x more water for a whitewash look.  My finished formula was 1/2 cup paint powder to 1 1/2 cups water. I brushed it on with a natural bristle brush, stippling it into the texture when necessary, then used an old flour sack tea towel to wipe it off.  The wiping off part was key to an even texture and removing brush strokes.

Just for fun, here’s a before and after:

fireplace before and after

P.S.  Thank you for making it safe for me show you my imperfect house and imperfect pictures.  I’m holding back the urge to point out all the flaws. I know no apology is necessary–because we’re friends like that.


Spending Freeze Day 8: Getting Creative

Having money to spend gives choices.  Sometimes having too many choices can make it harder to make a decision.  During our spending freeze, we have the ease of few choices :).  Example to follow:

We had to take down our Christmas decorations this month.  Sniff, sniff.  I didn’t get some of them up until December 23rd…..we were kind of slow.  So taking them down right away seemed too fast.  I wasn’t emotionally ready for Christmas to be over…..

…until I was.  Then I imagined red hearts everywhere and thought, “Why not take Christmas down and put some Valentine stuff up?”  Never mind that Valentine’s Day is 38 days away, or that we have never decorated for Valentine’s Day before.

Add that we are in a spending freeze and don’t have any decorations from previous years….because we don’t decorate for anything but Christmas.

I smelled a challenge.  Not to win a spot in Better Homes and Gardens….bwa ha ha ha….No.  What you are about to see definitely doesn’t rise to that level.  I just wanted to make the place feel festive for the kids.

I found a foam wreath form that used to have cotton balls hot glued to it.  It looked cute on pinterest, but it looked dumb when I did it.  So I pulled the cotton balls off and ended up a wreath form covered with hardened glue and fuzz.  It was too expensive to throw away and too ugly to sell at a garage sale so I put it in the pile that makes my office look really trashy.

I had a spool of pearl edged burlap ribbon left over from a wedding shower and wrapped the wreath.  My plan was to just wrap it up and hang it up…but I ran out of ribbon :(.  My first though was to run to the store and grab another spool.  At most it was going to be $2…..but spending freeze.


Not enough ribbon….so the remnants of glue and cotton balls still shows.

Aak.  So I looked around my office to see if I had anything red.  I found some long strips of polar fleece left over from a blanket project.


Without measuring I folded it over to be able to cut a semblance of a square


Rounded the edges


 Cut a spiral


And rolled it up (starting with the outside edge) to make roses.  At the end, the round part in the middle glued over the bottom to hold it all together.  Then I spent about 20 minutes making a bunch of them.  It went fast, because I didn’t measure anything. The un-uniformity of it all made a nice effect.



I love how it turned out!

 Valentine Entry Wreath

I hung it in my entry over a piece of fake Ikea fur and a couple of candles.  This pic doesn’t do it justice…


 We found small bits of Valentine candy and thought to make centerpieces out of some Dollar Tree candle glasses I had on hand.  But the tiny amount of candy looked stupid.  And then the boys ate all the candy.  So we tried something else.


Black eyed peas with a votive nestled in. A scrap of burlap ribbon and a hand stitched felt heart.  It isn’t what we’ve always dreamed about as far as decorations go but it was 100% from stash and is a little bit festive.


To add to the festive, we added some of the same hearts to our Ikea plants over the stove.



These are my favorite.

If I can find some red construction paper, I’d like to make these.