Category Archives: Do-it-Yourself

Create a Cozy and Clutter-Free Kitchen

Clutter can disrupt the flow of any home, bringing unwanted stress and frustration, especially in the kitchen. As one of the most prominently used rooms, maintaining a clutter-free environment will create a happier and healthier space for your family to enjoy. Here are a few tips to help you achieve and maintain a fully functional, chaos-free kitchen.

1. Look better, feel better. Whether you’re entertaining friends or just hanging out with family, hosting others at your house is fun, but can also be stressful. Even if it’s last night’s dinner dishes or wine glasses from your latest soiree, allowing clutter to pile up in the sink can negatively impact the look and feel of the entire kitchen. 

To make cleaning easier, find the best faucet to meet your cooking and entertaining needs. Try installing the Lindley pulldown kitchen faucet from Moen. Its traditional style creates an impressive focal point at the sink and increases performance with its high-arc pulldown spout and multi-function spray. Plus, the Spot Resist stainless finish resists fingerprints and water spots, keeping your faucet looking cleaner, longer. In addition, it comes with a coordinating soap dispenser to get one less item off your counter, which will make keeping the sink area clean and clutter-free a snap.

2. Organize chaos. Unused items, like the waffle maker that you desperately desired 10 years ago (but have yet to use), needs to go. To make some space in your kitchen, grab three boxes: one for garbage, one for donations and one for belongings you want to keep. Allocate a few hours and begin organizing. While separating items, ask yourself when did you last use this? With the exception of holiday-specific dishes and tools, if it’s been longer than a month, donate it or throw it away. Once everything is in a box, find the best spot for items you’re choosing to keep.

3. Get creative. Many kitchens suffer from countertop overload. This is where too many kitchen appliances and miscellaneous items, such as mail, phone chargers and car keys, seem to find a home. The solution to clearing this area is simple – get creative. Dish towels are infamous for cluttering countertops. They don’t have a designated home and therefore, are carelessly strewn about. Establish a special spot for this kitchen necessity: mount hooks, towel rings or towel bars, on the side of an upper cabinet, the end of the island or in another kitchen work space.

4. De-stress your life. It happens to all of us: your significant other informs you last minute you’re having guests for dinner, and the chores you need to complete before their arrival seem endless. To make this experience less stressful, spend 15 minutes each day maintaining a clean and orderly kitchen. Place dirty dishes in the dishwasher, wipe down the countertops, sweep the floors, put away toys and tablets and file mail. Simply staying on top of these little tasks will make it easier to accommodate unexpected company and allow you to enjoy their visit.

Independence Day DIY

Burgers, fireworks, family and friends— all the magical elements that come together for one of my favorite holidays.  There’s nothing better than sitting out on the porch with something cold in my hand, hanging out with friends, and waiting for the first crack of fireworks.  The Fourth of July is one of the best times of year because it right in the middle of summer, everyone is enjoying the outdoors, and we get to celebrate our beautiful country’s independence.    

Every year we get invited to parties for the Fourth and every year I am scrambling at the last minute to find something of patriotic colors to wear.  We mostly get invited to barbecues, pool parties and back yard fiestas– so the attire is always casual.  Despite the casual nature of these parties, it is difficult for me to conjure up an outfit that is red, white and blue.  I don’t wear a lot of red or Old Glory Blue.  However, this year I plan on being prepared!

Since these last couple seasons have been all about resurrecting 90s grunge in fashion, I’m completely jumping on board and I have no shame in my game.  Not only was I a real child of the 90s, I have an affinity for sunflower printed denim and I appreciate the minimalism of fashion from that era.  Denim was all the rage and it was ripped, shredded, and loose.  Tee shirts, cropped tops, lose tanks, shoes that were comfortable, yet fashionable– think Rachel from Friends.  I remember some of my favorite outfits were denim overalls and white crew neck tank tops from Gap.  I think I was always comfortable too.  Unlike when skinny, cigarette pants came back in style… I digress.

So, when the influx of cut-off denim shorts and white crew neck tees started to make its way to the fashion streets, of course I jumped on that bandwagon. 

Without consulting Pinterest, or scouring the internet for “Fourth of July outfits”, I decided to create my own flair of patriotism.  I’ve seen shorts that have American flag pockets or glints of red, white and blue and I wanted to try it on my own without having to go out and buy a pair.  How hard could that really be?  I’ll tell you, the project is super easy and didn’t take me long at all. 

Here’s how to get started:

  1. caitlinphotojuly2First, you need to cut the jeans into shorts.  Rule of thumb: cut the shorts at an UP ANGLE.  NOT straight across.  This will ensure a better fit and that the leg opening of the short won’t squeeze your thighs.
  2. Squirt a half dollar amount of acrylic paint onto a plastic plate (of each color)or aluminum foil and mix with about a quarter size drop of water.  This will dilute the acrylic paint so that it doesn’t dry too stiff on the denim. 
  3. Choose where you want your American Flag decal to be placed.  I chose the back pockets.  It doesn’t have to be exactly symmetrical but make sure you reference the REAL THING before you start.
  4. Let paint dry, then wash on gentle in the washing machine.  Air dry.

(After cutting the denim, wash after to allow the fibers to relax.  They will naturally shred on their own to revealing that old, “worn in” look.)

Now I have something to wear to all of the backyard barbecues and I don’t have to stress about finding patriotic colored outfits at the last minute. I can wear these shorts with a white tee shirt and little white tennis shoes or sandals and I’m done!  I up-cycled my old jeans too!

 

Written by Caitlin Cheatham

Pinterest Inspired

Despite what you may have been led to believe, you do not have to spend $10,000 on your wedding day to make it perfect. Our June issue is full of ideas to cut costs and still host the best celebration your guests will attend this year! Pick up your copy today, and look for our article on Pinterest inspired ideas that will add an inexpensive but personal touch to your wedding!

The traditional cake topper may not appeal to you. Visit www.etsy.com for many shops with unique cake toppers. MeltingPotLove has several to fit almost every couple’s needs. If you do not see a cake topper that matches you and your spouse-to-be, they can create one just for you!

weddingpartyweddingparty1Plan ahead for your “Thank You” cards. Use your family and friends to create memorable photos and cards you can send to guests. Obviously, you are going to want to send them (unless you never want a thank you card or gift for any other occasion). Ask your wedding party to hold letters in one of your photos that spell the words, “Thank you.” Many photographers will let you use the image on websites like Shutterfly to print your cards. (Just remember, ask first!)

Think outside of the box for wedding party gifts. Pinterest has plenty of DIY ideas, but you can also check out Etsy.com for so many wonderful gifts for your loved ones. In addtion to being reasonably priced, they are already made!

wineforawedding1For any member of the wedding party, or for the bride and groom themselves, consider a personalized wine box from Wine for a Wedding. These boxes are perfect to celebrate any occasion, and you can have a special message engraved on the inside of the lid. You even have the option of ordering a bottle of wine to include in the box! They can create a box just for you by incorporating your photos, invitations, specific monograms, or a completely custom design to fit your needs. Visit their website to place your order. Watch our Facebook page this week for a chance to win a wine box of your very own!

 

We are constantly pinning new ideas to our Pinterest boards. Follow us, and stay updated on the latest wedding DIY projects, gifts for your family, and more!

DIY On a Budget

We love DIY projects! In fact, our Pinterest page is full of ideas on how to begin your next one! One of our talented interns, Kristi Hall, was recently inspired to give new life to an old piece of furniture. It was a lot easier than she had anticipated, and we want to show you how to replicate it!

nightstandThe Refurbished Nightstand


Goodwill is an excellent place to begin your search for items that are begging for a fresh start. During a recent visit to my local Goodwill, I came across this night stand. As a Pinterest addict, its untapped potential caught my eye.  

It was white with striped scrapbook paper taped to the front drawer, a plain door to the inside and two brown oversized knobs that added a vintage feel.  For only $5.95 I couldn’t pass the opportunity to start my own do it yourself project.

A week later, I was brainstorming ideas of how I could bring it back to life. The first step I took in deciding its destiny was visiting Lowes to choose a paint color. After debating on several choices, I decided on aNew Image2 mix between teal and mint.

With the help of a friend, I started sanding the night stand with a palm sander and sand paper. I removed the door, knobs and the drawer to sand those as well. After getting a smooth finish, I decided to use the door as a shelf inside of the night stand instead of having a swinging door. Next, I screwed in four screws to secure the shelf inside.

Finally, I began painting my masterpiece! I used a small roller for coating the majority of the paint and a squared sponge brush for the smaller, hard to get spaces. After applying a coat of paint on the night stand itself, I painted the drawer and the shelf. Since the vintage knob was one of the main elements that caught my eye once seeing it at the thrift store I decide to keep it instead of buying a new one.


Overall this DIY project cost under $15.00. Even with the rainy weather and my busy college schedule, the entire thing took less than a week to complete. Sometimes people get discouraged by taking on a do it yourself project because of the time and effort they often require. No matter how long it takes, it is worth it because, in the end, you’ll be so proud of the unique piece you’ve created!

If you have a completed DIY project that you would like to share with our readers, please email us at editorial@beckmediagroup.com. For more DIY projects from our monthly column writer, Caitlin Cranwell, pick up the latest issue of Bella Magazine!

Kristi Hall is a Senior at Radford University. Her education focues on Media Studies with a concentration in Journalism. She is the section News Editor for the university’s newspaper and enjoys taking on do it yourself projects. She’s from Danville, Virginia. 

Posh Pad Projects: the CoverUP

With spring cleaning season upon me, there are always a few projects that I intend to start; projects that I have postponed for months, maybe even a couple years.  You know the ones– the bag of beads you bought at the beach hoping to string a necklace, or, the pillow shams you’ve been meaning to sew with the fabric you bought on sale.  I have countless potential projects that could turn out to be extraordinary finished products. Unfortunately, I am either too distracted with other minutia in my free time or I’ve changed my mind about the original idea. 

chair2One project that I have been putting off for about three years is re-upholstering a chair I purchased from a consignment store.  The chair is short, squatty and green.  Not a delightful emerald green or luxurious fabric.  Nay, the fabric is avocado green and yellow stripe cotton and needs to be burned.  Though the color was off-putting, I didn’t care.  The chair is perfect for a dressing room and I love it.  It has sat in my bedroom since I bought it, and whatever changes were made to my bedroom décor, the chair never changed.  So this spring cleaning, I decided to spruce it up and toss out the old avocado with the garbage. 

I don’t have a lot of experience re-upholstering furniture, so I enlisted the help of my crafty sister who has a gift when it comes to giving new life to old furniture.  First, she and I removed the old fabric using pliers to extract the brads and tacks (reserving them in a bowl for later use).  Then, we measured the new fabric for the top and bottom halves of the chair.  After measuring, we started stretching the fabric over the bottom half.  Making sure the fabric was smooth and pulled tight, we then secured it with a staple gun.  For the front of the chair, where the fabric wraps around the legs, we reused the old fabric brads to give it a polished look. 

chair1Once we made sure the fabric was secured on the bottom cushion, we began working on the top of the chair.  This is where it gets tricky.  A little patience is necessary, as hammering in brads can be tedious and scrupulous work. 

All you need for this project is a beautiful fabric of your choice, a hammer or mallet, upholstery brads, and pliers.  It really is a fairly simple, at home DIY that can save you a little cash; rather than sending it off for someone else to do.  The finished product is something you can feel good about accomplishing on your own. 

Spring is a time of renewal and things coming back to life.  It was time I gave new life to my favorite old chair.  I appreciate it now more than ever.

Written by Caitlin Cheatham
Pick up a print version of Bella Magazine for DIY Posh Pad projects from Caitlin in every issue! 

Tweet@CaraCaitlin                   Pinterest.com/frostingandbows

DIY: Love it or List it?

Written By Beth Herman

I’m obsessed with home renovation. HGTV’s Love it or List it is among my favorite TV shows. It’s fun to sit in your living room watching Susan, Dennis and their two kids eat dinner in their Racine Wisconsin garage, while their kitchen gets torn apart and rebuilt. Then, decision time: will they stay in the newly renovated house, or sell and buy a new home?

Sometimes life imitates art—or at least television. When we bought our house in 2004, it desperately needed updating.  Hoping to sell in 2012, we took the plunge. Under the guidance of our realtor Denise, we brought in a kitchen company and contractor, who renovated the master bath and replaced everything in the kitchen except the windows and floors. Eliminating the wall between dining room and kitchen provided clear ‘site lines.’ (Who wants to be in the kitchen cooking when all the fun is in the dining room?)  The estimate was three to four weeks.  It took seven.

kitchen
Before

The Reico rep said it was one of the most dramatic renovations she had seen, and she wasn’t exaggerating. In place of white Formica, we got sleek granite countertops, ‘espresso’ cabinets, and two times the storage. The master bath, two dark small rooms of 1980’s vintage, became one huge bright space (my husband calls it the Halls of Congress) with a window, skylight and large seamless shower.

After washing dishes in the guest bathroom, storing boxes of pots, dishes and dry goods in the living room, or hiking down to the guest bath in the middle of the night for seven weeks, the carpet still had to be ripped out and replaced. Seven days later, the house was finally completed.

kitchen2
After

We were thrilled, exhausted, and suddenly facing our own Love it or List it moment. Finally, a home with serene spa-like master bath and a kitchen/dining room space worth showing off.  Our first dinner guests arrived with champagne, an hour after the last workman drove away.

In the end, we decided to love it. I dreaded telling Denise, but thankfully, she was more than gracious.  “There’s always next year, she said, “and in the meantime enjoy!”

When I called her this January to her say, “we’re ready,” she was thrilled.  But alas, there was more work to be done. The master bedroom needed repainting, and the maroon shipbuilding wall paper had to come out of the first floor laundry room.

More renovations? I thought wearily. But I couldn’t argue.Years ago, I painted the bedroom myself. Harvest gold, the color choice of the previous owners, was covered with aqua; walls, trim and doors, creating an underwater effect.

This year, instead of a team, we used one guy. Ron, who had done tree work for us. He estimated three days. It took six. Sometimes his 19-year-old daughter came to help. The bedroom, now a soothing white trimmed in screen grey, matches the rest of the house. My dark little laundry room has a new floor, soft grey walls, a new toilet and vanity.

This time, we chose to list. I hope our house sells quickly when it goes on the market, but not too soon. I want to enjoy my new laundry room. At least for a little while.

Beth Herman is a writer and artist based in Charlottesville. She would love to hear your renovation stories, scary or smooth.

DIY: Sharpie Scripted Pillows

Who says that writing on furniture is just for kids? Snuggle up with a love letter every night with this how-to for Sharpie scripted pillows!

THINGS YOU’LL NEED:

  • Sharpie Fabric Markers
  • Cotton or Jersey pillowcase
  • Cardboard
  • Letter Stencils (Optional)

Choose the text or design you wish to write on your pillow.

Lay the pillowcase out over the piece of cardboard to prevent the marker from bleeding through and to keep the pillowcase smoothly stretched out.

For best results, sketch/write your ideas out in pencil FIRST before going to work with the Sharpie to allow for mistakes.

Use the fabric marker to create your one-of-a-kind pillow!

Take a look at these examples of DIY Sharpie pillows on A Subtle Revelry or Dear Lillie Blog if you need inspiration!  For more great DIY projects, check out our Pinterest page!

DIY-scripted-pillows1

Sweet dreams!

DIY: Holiday Decorating

As the holidays roll around, it’s natural to want to spread good tidings and cheer with festive decorations like wreaths, candy canes and Santa Claus figurines. But this year, instead of digging out the same old holiday decorations, why not create some new looks that will last the entire winter season, even after you put away the gift wrap and ornaments?

Stimulate the senses

Nothing says winter like the fresh smell of pine and the soft, warm glow of candle light. Repurpose simple glass bottles into an outdoorsy candlescape with Krylon Natural Stone Textured Finish spray paint. Available in eight colors, like Olivine, it goes on easy and gives you the natural beauty of stone and an elegant, professional-looking appearance. Once dry, wrap artificial garland with pinecones around the bottle’s neck or let the garland cascade down the bottle. Place pine tree-scented white taper candles in the bottle openings, light and enjoy for a fresh look and smell that will stimulate your senses well into 2014.

Color works wonders

Another easy way to excite the senses during a drab, gray winter is with pops of color. For a decorative display that lasts all season, avoid the red and green color combination associated with Christmas and branch out with more contemporary choices like teals, blues, purples and pinks. Metallics like silver and gold are also a great way to glitz up the season without looking like the North Pole in overdrive. Try Krylon’s ColorMaster Metallic in Gold to spice up old ornaments, vases, frames, centerpieces and more in no time at all. Group spray-painted ornaments or pine cones in a hurricane vase or glass bowl and display on the mantel for added ambiance to any living room.

Deck the halls

Looking for a way to display the abundance of holiday cards from friends and family? Repurpose an old window shutter to create a unique display. Start by spray painting it with a festive shade, such as green or burgundy, which adds a touch of holiday spirit. Once dry, hang the shutter in the kitchen or entryway and place holiday cards in the slats of the shutter for a creative way to stay organized. Once the holidays have passed, you can still use the shutter to display birthday cards, thank you notes, party invitations and more all year long.

Outdoor decor

The inside of the home isn’t the only space you can be creative. Make a lasting statement before houseguests even step inside your home by focusing decorative attention to the outside. Line walkways and driveways with lights or faux miniature pine trees, and place white flameless candlesticks on each windowsill to add a simple touch of holiday spirit without going overboard. Prop a vintage snow sled outside the front door to welcome guests.

So, this year instead of the same decorations, consider some fun and easy ways to re-beautify them into pieces that you’ll be proud to display throughout the winter season. For more product or project ideas, visit www.krylon.com.