A Nursery Fit for a Princess

So if you haven't guessed it yet by the title of this post (or if you don't follow my Instagram or facebook) then I'll just come  right out and say it: We're expecting our second little one! And it's a...

Wall Art for a Grand Entrance with Modern Masters Metallic Reactive Paint

When we first bought our home I was in total awe over our two story entryway complete with a gorgeous open staircase. I never thought I would be lucky enough to have such a beautiful space in my home.

As much as I love my entryway I have found it to be a very difficult space to decorate. Huge, high walls that require large pieces, which unfortunately equals large dollar amounts to acquire, have been left blank over the years because I'm a cheapskate. I have looked at some beautiful old windows and arched wood and metal wall art but I've never been willing to throw down hundreds of dollars for them.

3 Easy DIY Boxwood Wreaths for about $2 a piece

Lately I keep seeing all these simple and sweet boxwood wreaths populating front doors, walls and windows on my Instagram feed. The more I saw them, the more I wanted two or three (I'm an overachiever, what can I say?) of my own to disperse throughout my home.

Of course since I'm such an avid wreath DIYer I decided to make my own. It also helped that the previous owners of my house planted 14 boxwood bushes in the front yard ;). Score! So I already had most of my supplies for free right there.  

From Hollow Core Bore to a Beautiful Updated Door: DIY Slab Door Makeover using Trim and Paint

Let me start this post by saying how much I loathe hollow core "slab" doors. I really do. There is not one redeeming quality about them. whoever came up with this sorry excuse for a door should be shot.

Ok, maybe that's a little harsh. 

Hollow core doors are great for the budget conscious or for cheap contractors that are building construction grade homes. But really these doors only save money initially. They quickly drive down the value of your home. Especially if you've updated the rest of your house. 

They are so cheap and so ugly it's enough to drive anyone to the edge, kicking and hitting wildly in a fit of rage at those hideous veneered boards (that don't even deserve to be called a door). But then we all know you would have destroyed all of your thin doors (that can't even stand up to a punch from a hormonal teenager, much less your wild abandon) and be in a worse pickle than before, now having to buy all new doors.

Oh, sorry. I went off on a bit of a tangent there.

If you have boring, flat, hollow core slab doors you know exactly where I'm coming from, especially if you don't have loads of cash laying around to buy solid wood paneled doors. We could cry on each other's shoulders, or we could do something about these atrocities. I'm all about the doing ;).

I'm sure you've seen pictures and posts floating around the Internet of completely transformed slab doors from people like me who were almost tearing their hair out from the sheer awfulness of their flat slab doors. I of course googled and pinterested around checking out other bloggers door projects and the most inspirational for me was a video from Ron Hazelton If you haven't seen any of these dramatic door makeovers (heck, even if you have) I'm here to show you an easy (and awesome) door transformation that I did for $20 or less a door. I don't have a video to show you all but I do have tons and tons of pictures of the process.

Here's a before shot of the two doors I decided to start with first. Of course Jackson's bathroom door is one of them since it's the last step to finishing that bathroom up and the guest bedroom right next door.

So first things first I had to paint the doors and of course the trim. Painting all the woodwork and doors is a huge job to say the least. With 2700 square feet of trim, multiple closet doors and 16 slab doors in my house I have my work cut out for me. I'll be lucky if I get done with it in a year the way I am with projects. Of course that's not saying I won't try! Wish me luck ;).

Here's a pic of the in-progress painting of this small section of my house.

Painting trim is easy but tedious work. Although painting trim with carpet under it is a whole new ballgame for me so I had to come up with a way to work around getting any paint on the carpet. I came up with an easy fix using painters tape and an extra large putty/drywall knife. I took some pictures of how I got the tape to easily fit under the carpet so I could possibly save someone the trouble of figuring out how to paint trim with carpet.

Step one, I gathered my putty knife and painters tape. Step two, I placed the tape on the carpet with a little overlapping on the woodwork. Step three, I placed the putty knife at the base of the wood where it meets up with the carpet. Step four, I pushed the taped under the woodwork. Step five, I leaned back and admired my painters tape on top of the carpet and underneath the woodwork, just perfect to not get any paint on the carpet but to still manage to paint the whole piece of woodwork.

Ok, now back to those pesky slab doors. I painted the bathroom door while it was hung but took the guest bedroom door off the hinges and painted it in my pseudo work space in the kitchen on top of two sawhorses just to see which way would be easier. I found taking the door down to be the simpler way. After painting the door it was time to work my magic and transform a flat door into a masterpiece.

Supplies for making a flat door into a paneled door

  • door
  • decorative trim
  • tape measure
  • T-square or carpenters square
  • pencil (I used a dry erase marker for the first door, not the best idea)
  • miter box with saw (or just a saw if you're good like that)
  • liquid nails, or other comparable wood glue
  • tape
  • paint
  • level (not necessary but if you want to check how awesome you are at putting level panels on your doors this will reassure you ;)
  • time

First you need to measure and mark where your trim for the panels will go. I found that I didn't even use the carpenters square (Cory suggested it), just the T-square because the length of the blade was great for drawing lines and the head was perfect for keeping everything straight and right where I wanted it to be by resting it on the edge of the door.

Here's a picture of the panels drawn out. I wanted a pretty standard panel look for my doors so I used 5" in everywhere except on the bottom of the door where I did 6" up.

After you have your panels drawn out it's time to measure them to cut your trim. I bought my trim from Home Depot. They have some decorative trim pieces that come in 8 foot sections for $5 a piece. When I bought my first batch (about a year ago) they were only $4 a piece. When you snooze, you lose, I guess.

I got out my trusty miter box and saw (that you can buy at any home improvement store for under $10). The miter box makes it very easy for an amateur like myself to cut mitered cuts. It also is very convenient since I wanted to cut the trim inside while I had Jackson playing right by me. I put the miter box on my kitchen table and cut the trim at 45 degree angles. After I was done I simply wiped up the sawdust and put the miter box and saw away. No muss, no fuss.

I placed all the cut trim pieces on the door where I would be gluing them down like so. I used approximately four 8' trim pieces per door for making panels on both sides. For the smaller doors it will be less and for the four small pantry/closet doors I will only do the front of the door that faces out. So essentially I'm spending $20 or less a door. Much less than buying a solid wood paneled door from the store!

I then gathered my liquid nails, tape and a damp paper towel for any glue seepage. I put the glue on quite liberally since I really wanted the trim to stick well with no gaps. I simply placed the trim with the glue side down on my drawn out lines and taped it down for about 24 hours or so.

 Depending on if your trim is warped or not you may have to apply more tape. This is a picture of Jackson's bathroom door and it needed twice the amount of tape as the guest bedroom door. After you have removed the tape all that's left to do is paint the trim to match the door and hang the door back up.

Here's a pic of just one door done with panels, one door just painted and one door untouched. You can see the difference it makes. It looks much more refined and "finished".

And here's the finished doors complete with my "new" DIY spray painted doorknobs.

Here's a couple of close up shots of the finished door.

One more shot. I just love how these doors have turned out!!

Updating these doors has given me hope that my hollow core doors will stop bringing the value of my house down and possibly add some profit when we eventually move on to bigger and better things(sweat equity for sure!). Hope you become inspired to change your own hollow core doors into something you love!

Until the next time,



DIY Spray Painted Doorknobs: From Cheap Brass to Expensive Oil Rubbed Bronze

On my quest to update and upgrade our substandard, boring construction grade home I have now come to a point where the ugly brass door knobs and hinges need to be changed. This is one of the last projects on my list for my son's bathroom renovation (woo hoo!! I'm almost done!!), but ultimately it involves the entire house since eventually I want a brass free home.

I hate brass. I can't say it enough.  It just oozes cheap, construction grade quality and I want it all gone, like it was never here to begin with.

Now I could go out to the store and blow hundreds of dollars on new, beautiful knobs and hinges but we don't have the cash for that. Up-cycling and saving hundreds of dollars is more the style in my household anyway. If it can be done, we will do it. 

In my $50 Power of Paint Bathroom Reveal I touched on how Cory spray painted the knobs, towel bars and toilet paper holder to look like oil rubbed bronze, but I didn't really delve too deep into the process. Well today I'm going to show you all just how easy it is to change your ugly, out dated knobs, pulls, hinges, (pretty much whatever your heart desires) to look like expensive oil rubbed bronze. All the supplies you need can be picked up at the hardware store except copper craft paint which you can find at a craft store. Here's the supplies you will need:

Spray Painted Knobs & Hinges Supplies

  • Ugly knobs, hinges, pulls, etc.
  • Rust-oleum metallic Oil Rubbed Bronze spray paint (this is our fave)- $6
  • Paint deglosser- $6
  • rag or sponge
  • Metallic acrylic copper colored paint (the color we used is worn penny)-$3
  • Small detail paintbrush
  • Paper plate for copper paint and knobs to sit on
  • Clear spray paint- $3.50
  • Screwdriver to remove knobs
  • Containers and/or boxes to degloss knobs and spray paint knobs

First things first I removed all the knobs and hinges and other parts from the door that I wanted to spray paint. There are many ways you can "prepare" your metal items for spray paint from sanding to just a wipe down. We chose to use paint deglosser because we wanted the spray paint to have the best possible chance to stick and stay forever. Ok, maybe not forever but it would be a shame if the paint started wearing off just because we were lazy and just wiped off our metal pieces.

I used zinsser paint deglosser that was purchased at Menards for about $6. The directions say to scrub your surface with a rag (I used an old scrubby sponge) and then apply a generous amount and let dry for 30 minutes. Pretty easy stuff. After the 30 minutes I simply wiped down all my pieces and headed to the basement to spray paint those puppies in our makeshift spray booth made out of cardboard boxes. Ideally I'd love to spray paint out doors but it's 30 degrees and snowy here right now so the basement will have to do. Although I'm sure I'll still be doing this project come warmer weather since we have about 14 doors to do...

My inspiration for my oil rubbed door knobs came from our front door. We purchased an expensive, heavy duty oil rubbed door knob when we first bought our home.

Pret-ty nice if I do say so myself.

After my knobs and hinges were dry I brought up the knobs to put touches of worn penny paint on. The hinges would be just fine the way they were since I just wanted them to be dark oil rubbed bronze, no need to do anything more with them than to hang the door back up. I gathered my supplies for this part of the project: a paper plate, worn penny paint, the knob and a small detail paintbrush.

To start I put a dab of copper paint on the plate and dipped my paintbrush and just barely painted the edges of the lever part of the knob.

After I had painted a small section I rubbed the paint with my fingers to soften the look and to fix any "mistakes". I also thought it made the copper parts look more natural, like it had been worn that way instead of just been painted on. When I paint artistically I tend to paint a lot using my fingers so it's only natural that I would use this technique for this project too.

I found there is a lot of room for error while I was painting my copper paint. You do not have to make it look absolutely perfect because oil rubbed bronze is worn to look the way it looks. It's not a perfect look. You can go back over parts and use the good old fashioned spit and rub technique if you truly don't like how a section turned out. It's only paint and can be fixed if worse came to worse.

Here's a view of all the sections I used the worn penny paint on. I painted both sides of the lever, the stem (where the lever attaches) and the outer rose (section that attaches to the door). This is a picture of the under-side that no one will see unless they were laying on the floor looking up at the doorknob.

When you are done putting copper touches on your knob simply spray paint some clear spray paint on the knob to further protect it and to keep that worn penny paint from wearing off. Wait for it to dry and then put it back onto the door from whence it came.

Here's a before picture of my brass knobs (as if you could forget).

Here's the after. Ahh so much better!

Again here is a before, my inspiration knob and an after pic.

I am over the moon with the results of my painted doorknobs. They look a million times better (and more expensive) than the ugly, outdated brass doorknobs. This project literally costs around $1 a door since I can reuse the paint and other products on all the other knobs, hinges, strike plates, etc. that I have left to do. So this paint project has saved us hundreds of dollars, but it does take some time. If that's the trade off, it is one I will gladly take. Now to just get the gumption to do all that deglossing and painting 15 more times!

Coming up next is an a-door-able post that I cannot wait to show you all!! I am sooo close to being done with my son's bathroom and this next post is the last project before the big reveal of my first completed room in our home!

Until the next time!


How Painting With Water Has Taught My Family

As you all know I love art. The name of my blog is Thrifty Artsy Girl after all, and I'm always up to some kind of artsy project. I also love involving my toddler son, Jackson, in creating his own works of art. Hopefully he will love and appreciate art as much as both of his parents do.

Now that Jackson is in pre-school he does numerous art activities there, and unfortunately less at home. I still try to get some type of artsy, crafty projects in but it's sometimes hard to squeeze it in to our busy life style.

With that said, I was given the opportunity to review an "artistic" product and since anything "artsy" is right up my alley, I jumped at it. The product I'm sharing with you all is called the Buddha Board. The Buddha Board is very minimalist in design (it definitely looks like you would find it sitting out in a Japanese house). Basically it's just a flat board (with what looks like rice paper on it) that rests in a tray (with notches for the Buddha Board and paintbrush) that you fill with room temperature water to dip a traditional Japanese paintbrush in.

To use the Buddha Board you simply paint on the surface with water, after a minute or so the image will slowly evaporate and then you can create another masterpiece :). The Buddha Board is intended to help relieve the stress of most people's chaotic, busy lives by helping you to slow down and relax while painting on the Buddha Board's surface and watching your artwork disappear along with your stress, ultimately leaving you with a clear mind.

Right when I unpacked the Original Buddha Board, Jackson was on it. He wanted to be the first to try it out ;). He painted with the water for quite a while, watching the image disappear and then painting a new image on the board.

Cory and I are no strangers to painting. Before we knew each other we had painted numerous canvases and other surfaces with our own unique styles. *Sigh* It seems like a lifetime ago. Without us even realizing it, our busy lives involving jobs, parenting and renovating several spaces took over and forced us to trade in our delicate artist paintbrushes, replacing them with the poor substitute of painting endless amounts of walls and trim. With the Buddha Board we were gently reminded, like a visit from an old friend, of our love for this past life.

Cory came home late one night from working in the ER and saw that the Buddha Board was set up. I had told him all about the Buddha Board and its intended purpose of helping you let go of the stress from your day by painting on the surface and watching it disappear. He sat down and immediately started painting. He told me the next day that the Buddha Board not only helped relieve a lot of his tension but that he believed the Buddha Board could be a great tool for the out of practice artist. I could not agree with him more.

I noticed the same thing when I used the Buddha Board. Memories of why I started painting in the first place came rushing back to me. Artistic painting (not painting walls and trim) has always been therapeutic for me. The Buddha Board has definitely inspired me to bring more art back into my life.

Since Cory's a very private artist (shh don't tell him I told you that ;) the Buddha Board is perfect for him because everything he paints simply disappears in a few minutes. No one sees if your painting isn't perfect (and believe me, most artistic types don't think much of anything they do looks perfect!) Another great thing about the Buddha Board is that you're not creating any waste since you're painting with water and when it dries you have a clean "new" surface. And of course there's Cory's favorite: you're de-stressing and practicing painting techniques at the same time. 

I've discovered it's not only great at painting cleansing your day away, but that it can be used as a teaching tool for Jackson. Since he's a little young to have stress in his life (I hope) and he's currently learning how to write letters and numbers at school I've found a great way for him to practice at home with the Original Buddha Board.

The first time I tried my theory it worked out perfect! First I called Jackson over and I wrote a letter J on the Buddha Board surface.

Next I instructed Jackson to write the letter J right next to mine. He did great for the first try!

As Jackson grows more accustomed to writing his letters I'll have him wait until the letter I have painted has evaporated and have him paint that letter from memory. This picture is the second letter we tried. Not bad at all for a 3 year old!

The next day Jackson went up to the Buddha Board on his own and with no prompting, he painted the two letters that we had painted the day before. I'm glad my camera was sitting right by the Buddha Board so I could snap this pic before the letters evaporated!

We all love the Buddha Board in our household. It has brought back memories of why we love art and has quite possibly brought us back to making art like we used to. It will be used for years to come since it has so many uses including relieving daily stress, a teaching tool, a painting practice tool, and the list goes on and on.

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post. I was given this product complimentary to review. However all opinions expressed are my own and 100% true.

The Power of Paint: Shades of Grey Apartment Bathroom Reveal

It's finally time for an apartment renovation reveal! This post is basically the reason I wanted to start blogging guys! I know, I know, you were all expecting more on Jackson's owl bathroom. Well, we've been working on another bathroom at the same time! Overachieving is one word for it. Or glutton for punishment. Either way I'm up to my elbows in bathroom makeovers!

This is a huge post for me, with multiple projects done over the course of many weeks. I could have split it up into several posts but I just didn't have the time or energy while working at two different spaces on multiple projects. Plus this was kind of an unexpected renovation and I didn't do all the work so I just took pictures of our progress.

Since I started blogging last year all of the apartments have been occupied (except one that is getting a major overhaul, more on that another time) so we couldn't do any kind of updating or reno. Shortly after my lower unit grey apartment tour, the tenants living there put in their notice. While the apartment looked really nice, Cory felt a little sprucing up was necessary.
First we painted a bedroom a greenish grey that had been boring beige. We let Jackson "help" with the painting. I couldn't resist snapping a few shots of our budding artist at work.


Cory also patched and painted any damage. We painted, painted and painted some more. We focused most of our mini makeover energy on the bathroom and small back entryway/hallway between the bathroom, a bedroom and the kitchen.

Here's a couple before shots of the bathroom and what I could dig up of the hallway (Cory started working on it while I was at work so I didn't get a before picture).

We worked on the two areas simultaneously. Cory decided he wanted to try something new with the back entryway. His sister Erica had put up board and batten (like wainscoting) in her bathroom (see her tutorial here) and it inspired him to try it in this small area to make it look more interesting and more to the period of the house. We had a bunch of pine furring strips and other small wood boards in the basement leftover from a huge shelving/storage unit Cory built a while ago so he decided to use those. You can pick furring strips up for super, super cheap (pennies for a 4 foot long board) at any home improvement store. Cory framed the whole hallway out for less than $5 worth of wood.

He simply measured, placed the furring strips equal distance apart (he didn't even have to cut them as they were already the same height), then he glued them to the wall, taped them until dry, then painted the wood and wall white and lastly he used some caulk to give it a finished look. He did cut and fit slightly larger boards that were also in the basement for the top rail piece. Here's a few pictures of the process. Since we painted the board and batten white we had to bite the bullet and paint the woodwork and doors white to match.

Here's the brand new/old looking entryway!

At the same time the hallway was going back in time, the bathroom got a fresh new look, a facelift, to give it a more modern appearance.
I started by painting the sad 80's wood vanity with some of my favorite new $5 Waverly chalk paint in the dark grey elephant color. Here's a before shot of the vanity right before I started painting.

Here's the vanity after painting. I painted the medicine cabinet to match and still had a tiny amount of paint left. I also put a clear coat on to protect the paint from water and normal usage.

We reused all the knobs, towel bars and toilet paper holder. Cory soaked them in paint deglosser overnight and then spray painted them oil rubbed bronze and put touches of worn penny paint on all the fixtures to give them a true oil rubbed look. He completed the process by spraying a clear coat on everything so that the paint won't knick or scratch off. I found a can of light grey oops paint that I had purchased a while ago for $12 to paint the walls to match the new vanity color.

The wall board in the bathroom was not the white color we would have preferred. It was in good shape just off white. 

Instead of pulling it all down Cory decided to try a new product out to see if we could transform the wallboard for little cost and effort. For about $12 Cory purchased Zinsser Bondz. We already had the paint deglosser which Cory used first (so the Bondz would work even better) on the wall board by scrubbing it onto the surface and then he applied a coat, let it dry for a half hour and then painting on the Bondz primer. 

Right after he painted the Bondz primer onto the wallboard he then finished with two coats of white paint and primer in one.

We are super excited with the outcome from the Bondz primer. The wall board looks fresh, clean and best of all white. We can't wait to use Bondz on one of the numerous surfaces it says you can paint on such as vinyl, garage doors, metal, glass etc.

My favorite part about this bathroom makeover is the feet on the claw foot tub. Ever since I bought a can of Rustoleum mirror effect spray paint for my gold glitter mercury glass pumpkin we've been looking to use it on tons of objects we want to be shiny silver. I suggested we paint the white claw feet on the tub to make them look more expensive. This was the easiest paint project in the bathroom. I cleaned the feet, taped them off and Cory sprayed them. Instant wow factor. Makes me wish I had this puppy in my own home...

Here's a picture of the whole completed bathroom.

Not too shabby for less than $50 worth of paint and supplies. It really is amazing what a little paint and elbow grease can do for a room!

Until the next time!


Disclaimer: I am not affiliated with any of the products mentioned. All opinions are my own from my own experiences.