DIY Concrete Heirloom Pumpkins

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It’s the most basic of all the seasons: pumpkin season.

Don’t get me wrong – I love a good fall porch display. It’s really the only fall decorating I do aside from sprinkling a few small white pumpkins around the house. Every year we line our front steps with an array of pumpkins and mums. It’s always a good mix of real and faux…and I always spend 2 months picking up the faux from the yard. Midwest winds in the fall are absolutely absurd.

This year I was already dreading the thought of fixing my display day after day so I decided to do something about it. What’s heavy and durable enough to withstand fall in the Midwest? A. Cement.

Here’s a list of what I used to make these concrete beauties.

  • Quick Dry Cement
  • Large Bucket
  • Small Bucket or Planter
  • Nylons
  • String or Twine
  • A hose
  • A tree branch (for the stem)
  • Paint (optional)
  • Spray Polyurethane (optional)

First I mixed the cement in the large bucket. I added a little more water than necessary in order to keep it from drying out. Once you have that mixed, cut the legs off of one of your nylons, stretch it over the top of your small bucket and be prepared to get messy.

Fill the nylons with cement until you’re happy with the size (don’t make it too big or the nylons will rip). Tie the nylon in a knot at the top and trim the excess. Then take your string and tie 3-4 pieces around the cement. See the images for reference. This will create the grooves of your pumpkin.

Do this process 5-8 more times. Depending on how big you make them, you should be able to get 6-8 pumpkins from 1 bag of cement and 2 pairs of nylons. Let your pumpkins harden for about 24 hours.

Once the cement is dry, trim the strings and nylons with scissors and ta-da! Unwrap the cutest little concrete pumpkin! I love the cement look. You could totally add some stems and stop here but I chose to paint ours to look more like real heirloom pumpkins.

I picked up some chalk paint from the craft section at Walmart. I mixed different portions of these 6 colors in order to achieve the look I was going for: Plaster, pumpkin, moss, mineral, cashew and dusk. Have fun with this part! Get creative, get the kids involved! My boys had so much fun helping.

After painting I hot glued on a small tree branch to give the look of a stem, and I sprayed them down with a polyurethane in order to protect the paint.

I think these turned out SO much cuter than I had anticipated and the best part?? No more picking faux pumpkins out of the neighbors yard!

If you try this DIY don’t forget to tag me! Happy fall!

DIY Shaker Style Barn Door

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We installed a sliding barn door kit in our great room not long after moving into our house. It added a nice focal point to an otherwise blank wall, but it was mostly to keep the dogs out of the kids rooms when we weren’t home. We debated on painting or staining it – but in the end decided we liked the natural wood.

After living with it for a couple of years I was ready for a change. I envisioned something a little less farmhouse and a little more modern. I love the clean lines of shaker style doors and knew that’s the look I wanted, so I came up with a plan.

The door kit we purchased from Amazon came with 4 diagonal trim pieces that we never attached. I figured I could trim those down to size to create the additional horizontal pieces I needed and attach them with my brad nailer. The only issue left was to fill the grooves that ran the length of the door.

My first attempt was joint compound. I had used this stuff previously to fill in the grooves on some of the wood paneling at the lake house. At first it worked great! (So great that I painted and rehung the door thinking I was done with this project). About a week later, after the joint compound had time to settle, the grooves reappeared. I reapplied, let it dry, sanded. The grooves came back AGAIN. Total bummer.

On to plan b: hardboard! I decided the easiest thing to do was to just cover each section completely with a thin hardboard. I cut a few panels down to size and used liquid nails to attach the panels to the door. Then I caulked around the seams. I completely neglected to document this part but it worked like a charm!

Now it’s time for paint! ALWAYS prime first. Especially when you’re painting wood. I had some spray primer on hand so I just used a couple of cans of that first. Then I painted the door my favorite gray: Dove by Behr. It was the perfect amount of contrast on the white wall. Be sure to lightly sand between coats to get the smoothest finish!

I absolutely love how this door turned out! It’s simple and modern and is exactly what our great room needed.

You Down with LVP?

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I knew that switching up the flooring in our home was going to be a major task, but I also knew it was going to completely transform our spaces. My husband and I had decided right off the bat that LVP was the way to go. It’s affordable, low maintenance and super durable. With 2 dogs and 2 boys under our roof – it was a no brainer.

Before: The listing photo of our great room.

We started our search where most people probably start: the hardware store. I grabbed every sample that I thought I liked. Once we got them home, and out of the flourecent store lighting I hated every single one of them. They all looked completely different once we looked at them under the lighting in our home.

After searching the internet for more options, I started getting ads on my social media pages…weird how that happens, isn’t it? That’s about the time I fell in love with Flooret! Every color option I saw I loved and the cost was right within our budget. After doing a little bit of research I decided to order some samples – and that’s when they won me over.

I put their samples to the test to make sure they were going to last. I soaked them in water for 24 hours. I tried scratching them with a fork. I drove hot wheels across them, spilled paint on them…anything I could think of that my dogs or kids could possibly do to ruin these floors. The samples passed with flying colors.

We wanted a lighter wood tone to brighten up our poorly lit great room. The two samples I ordered were Soho and Nakan. I was certain that Soho was going to be my choice, but Nakan was love at first sight. We decided on the Base option which is their 6” wide plank.

If I’m being completely honest – the installation was a bear. Not because it was difficult…but because we did over 1000 square feet. By ourselves. I won’t bore you with the details but do I have a few takeaways from DIY-ing LVP that are worth noting.

  • Make sure your subfloor is COMPLETELY LEVEL. We had a seam on our subfloor that was warped and it gave us some trouble – nothing an orbital sander couldn’t take care of.
  • Make sure there is ZERO debris as you lay your planks. We used a shopvac to clear the path as we went.
  • Get an LVP install kit and a trim puller.
  • Knee pads. Enough said.
  • Move everything out of the room if you can! We couldn’t and it sucked having to shift furniture around.
  • LVP is thin! You may have to either lower your trim or install moulding to cover and gaps from where the old flooring is laid (if you removed your old flooring like we did).
  • Be sure to use spacers! You have to leave room for the flooring to expand/contract. Industry standard is 1/4″ from the wall.
  • Watch for repeat planks. There are a good variety of plank designs but you’ll come across some duplicates occasionally. Make sure you pay attention.
  • Flooring should to be inside to acclimate for at least 48 hours before installation.

If you’d like to see more on our install, check out my Flooret highlight on Instagram. Overall it was a very easy but time consuming process. 1000 square feet is a lot. We were tired and sore but SO happy with the results. 10/10 would recommend Flooret Flooring.

If you’d like to see some samples for yourself – use code houseon610th33 for 33% off.

Modern Boho Shared Boys Room

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Did you share a room with a sibling growing up? I always had my own room, but I was also quite a bit older than my brother and sister so it never really made sense for us. My boys are almost 4 years apart and when we first moved into the new house we had them in separate rooms. Our oldest, however, starting going through a “thing” where he was afraid to be alone in his room. After a few sleepless months it was a no brainer to me to move him into a room with his brother. So we had a chat about it and thankfully he LOVED the idea.

Since I carry the same color palette throughout the house it was a really easy transition to combine the rooms. I wanted to make sure to incorporate items from both rooms.

The biggest purchase we made was a set of bunk beds. For now we have a bed and a crib. Our youngest needs containment – for as long as possible. BUT before we know it, he’ll be free to roam and sleeping in a big boy bed so bunk beds was the logical choice. We love this full over full bed from Wayfair. Once the crib leaves the room I’ll probably replace it with a little desk.

The other need we had was a dresser big enough for both of them. We moved the Ikea dresser into the other bedroom to make room for the bunk bed. It was too big for the spot we had available. We ordered this really cute navy dresser from Amazon. I will say I’m not impressed with the quality. I’ve had to glue the drawer fronts back on a couple of times. It’s cute but we’ll probably have to replace it in the near future.

My favorite feature are the wall sconces! We cut the cords and did the puck light hack so they would both have little night lights. No wiring required and they look SO good on the black wall.

Overall I’m so happy with how the room came together and the boys absolutely LOVE being in a room together. If you’re on the fence about it: 10/10 recommend it! The morning conversations that we hear through the monitor are my absolute favorite (Almost 6 and almost 2 – you can imagine). I know they’ll eventually probably want their own spaces, but I hope that’s not any time soon.

Paint colors: Walls – Cameo White – Behr, Accent Wall – Dark Secret – Behr

DIY Slat Wall Bookshelves

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My kids have approximately 35 million books…which I’m certainly not complaining about. They both love to read stories – but it does pose a bit of a storage problem. Originally, I had hung some Ikea picture ledges in their room but it seemed like there was never enough room. I started brainstorming on what we could do – then I came across Kim from @xomyhome‘s post about some slat wall shelving she did for her kids. I absolutely LOVED the look of them. You can see her version here.

So after studying what she did, I got to work on a plan. If you’d like to see my process, I have a bookshelf highlight saved to my instagram.

Here’s what I used for this build:

  • 24 1x2x8 boards
  • 3 1x2x6 boards
  • 5 48″ 1/2″ dowels
  • Matte black spray paint
  • Wood Glue
  • Wood filler
  • Mitre Saw
  • Brad Nailer
  • Drill
  • Impact Driver (optional)

To do the slat wall I first located my studs in the wall. I made sure that at least 2 of my slats were attached to the studs. This is important because these will support the weight of the bookshelves. After some math, I figured out that I could space each slat 3/4” apart. Since my 1×2 boards are 3/4” thick, I used one as a spacer.

I used a brad nailer to attach the slats to the wall. Put a few screws into the slats that are positioned over your studs (try to place these so they’ll be hidden by your shelves – or you can counter sink them and use plugs to cover them up). Make sure you go back and fill your nail holes with wood filler for a finished look.

Now it was time to build the shelves. These are relatively simple to assemble as long as you get your cuts right. First I trimmed my boards to the length needed. I then I attached a 1×2 to the back of my 1×6 shelf board with brad nails and a couple of screws along the bottom of the shelf. This is what I’ll use to attach the shelf to the wall.

Before you attach the sides of the shelf, you need to mark and drill pilot holes for the front support. I didn’t want to drill all the way through the board, so I placed a piece of tape 1/2” from the end of my 1/2” drill bit so I knew where to stop. Once you have your pilot holes, you can use the brad nailer to attach the sides. Don’t panic if the shelves aren’t perfect. Sand down the shelves to fix any uneven joints and use wood glue or wood filler in any spots where the boards don’t sit flush.

Next, you’ll want to attach your shelves to the wall. Locate the slats that are attached to your stud and make sure you screw the shelves to those first. Then add a few brad nails for extra support. Once your shelf is on the wall you can add your front support. I sprayed mine black for a little contrast. Trim your dowel to size, then place it in one of the pilot holes. You should be able to bend it just enough to fit it into the other side.

Add your books and any other fun decor and you’re done! These shelves are the focal point as you walk into my boys’ room and I am obsessed! Plus now they can find all their favorites easily. If you try this project, I’d love to see!

DIY Modern Barn Door

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First things first. I have to give credit to Angela Rose Home for the inspiration for this build. I saw her door a couple of years ago and knew I needed one somewhere in my home.

Her tutorial is linked here if you want to check it out.

Moving on. Like I said, I first saw this door on instagram and completely fell in love. It took me about a day to complete (including several trips to the hardware store) and cost around $250 in materials – hardware included! If you’ve ever priced barn door kits you know this is a steal!

(For reference my door is 84” tall x 40” wide).

Here’s what I used:

Before you head to the store figure out how big you need your door to be. Remember a barn door extends outside of the door frame so these are usually a bit bigger than a traditional door.

As mentioned previously my door is 84” x 40”. I used a sheet of 3/4” MDF as my base layer and had Home Depot cut it to size for me in the store. If you plan on adding trim around the edges like I did be sure to subtract 1.5” from the finished height and width you’re wanting to accommodate the 1×2 trim boards.

Also note that lumber dimensions do not indicate actual size! For example: a 1×2 board is actually 3/4″ x 1.5″.

Once you have your MDF cut down, it’s time to start laying out your design. You can get creative here, but I wanted a symmetrical look so the first thing I did was measure and draw a line halfway down the board. I used this center line as my starting point.

Next I took 2 of the primed finger joint boards and cut one end of each at a 45 degree angle. Using my center line as a starting point I set them in place and marked on the opposite edge where I needed to cut – no measuring required! Once you have your first boards cut to size, add a little bit of construction adhesive and top it off with several brad nails to hold them in place.

From here I just did the same thing over and over using 1/2” pieces of scrap wood as spacers for my design. Since I kept it simple and only used 45 degree angles this entire process went very quickly.

You may end up with a weird situation in the corner like I did. For this corner piece I had to make 2 cuts. One with the mitre saw angled to the left and one angled to the right. Piece of cake.

Now to trim out the entire door (if you choose to do so). For the trim I used 1×2 boards and beveled the ends (meaning I cut them at a 45 degree angle) to give the corners a nice tight fit. I attached these the same way I attached the finger joint boards. A little adhesive + brad nails. Also one thing to note – the design you just laid out isn’t going to be perfect. Some boards may hang over the edge of your MDF a little. Just sand around the edges so that your trim boards will lay flush.

Now that your door is built, it’s time for the finishing touches. You may have noticed after you attached your trim that there are gaps between the finger joints and the trim. DO NOT PANIC. A little bit of paintable caulk or wood filler and your door will have a seamless, super clean look. Fill the gaps and wipe off the excess. Once it’s dry give the entire door a good sanding. I used 120 grit.

Once you’ve sanded its time for paint. This is where a paint sprayer would come in handy! I chose to paint my door Satin Black by Behr. I used Charcoal Chalk Spray Paint to get into all the hard to reach placed first (it’s essentially the same color), then used a smooth roller to coat the rest of the door. If you don’t have a paint sprayer I highly recommend either cutting in with a brush as you lay your design down OR do what I did and use a paint that’s color matched to a spray paint of some kind. That way you don’t have to struggle getting paint in all the nooks and crannies.

Once your door is dry you can add your hardware and install your door track. I found mine on Amazon and it came with clear instructions on how to hang everything. This door is HEAVY so make sure your track is rated to support 150+ pounds just to be on the safe side.

I could not be happier with how this door turned out. It was super easy and made a huge impact on the look of our bedroom. If you try this don’t forget to tag me!

Paint colors: Walls – Cameo White – Behr, Door – Satin Black – Behr, Accent Wall – Eucalyptus Wreath – Behr

DIY Faux Fireplace

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I’d like to start off by saying: never in my life have I had SO many splinters. Totally worth it though.

A fireplace was on our wishlist when we started shopping for our second home (our first didn’t have one either) but after 5 years of searching, this home was the closest we could get to meeting MOST of our wants within our budget – fireplace or not. After about a year of staring down our huge, blank tv wall I decided it was time to get to work.

The before – listing photo

I was intimidated at the thought of building something this substantial – but honestly, as long as you can measure and cut – you can build anything…the right tools help as well!

For this project we used the following:

Table Saw

Impact driver

Skill Saw

Brad Nailer

Mitre Saw

Multi-tool

• Protractor (for the cuts along the vaulted ceiling)

Not all of these are totally necessary, but they will make the project a whole lot easier. If you don’t have these you could always look into borrowing or renting from your local hardware store. Many hardware stores will rip plywood to size for you as well!

I’m not going to get specific with measurements because every space will be different – this is just an overview of the process.

We started off with the mantle which is actually a floating shelf that we purchased from All Modern. The exact one is linked here. You could easily build something like this with a few 1×6 boards.

Once the mantle was hung I attached 3 1x4s to the wall and made sure to hit my studs. The frame that will support the fireplace insert will be attached to these 1x4s.

Now it was time to figure out my measurements. I won’t get into specifics here because as previously stated it will all depend on your preferences/needs/space. I knew I wanted a shiplap mantle – and to keep the cost down I chose to do a faux shiplap (I’ll explain what that means later). Our fireplace essentially has 4 layers to take into consideration: the frame, a plywood backer, the faux shiplap & trim. When calculating your measurements be sure to take into consideration that lumber sizes often don’t indicate the actual dimensions of your boards. For example a 2×4 is NOT 2″ x 4″ – it’s actually 1.5″ x 3.5″.

Here’s the mockup I used to help me plan out all of my cuts. Having a visual reference really helped.

First up I built the frame out of 2x4s and wood screws. The owners manual for the fireplace insert should provide dimensions of the opening you’ll need for installation purposes. Additionally, I made sure to include extra boards on the bottom to help support the weight of the insert.

Once the frame was build I attached it to the wall using metal L brackets. This was a little tricky because of the tight spacing. If I were to do this again, I would have attached the back portion of the frame first, and attached the front portion after it was secured to the wall.

Once the frame was attached we tested the insert to make sure it fit. It did! However – there wasn’t enough clearance behind the insert for the power cord. We considered moving the outlet, but then found this recessed outlet at Home Depot. A quick switch and this solved our problem.

Next I applied a layer of 1/4″ plywood to the entire frame as a backer for my faux shiplap. Traditional shiplap are tongue in groove boards and only give the illusion of a gap when boards are placed next to each other. Because I’m not using a traditional shiplap, the backer board was necessary. Faux shiplap is generally plywood or MDF ripped into strips. We chose a 6″ wide board for our space.

Applying the shiplap was easy. Start at the top and work your way down placing nickels as spacers between each board. Trust me when I say: ALWAYS cut in with your stain or paint between attaching each board. This will save you a lot of time and frustration in the long run. If you forget, no worries! Grab a small paintbrush from the craft section and get to work.

Once your shiplap is applied and painted, you can give it a finished look with some trim! I used a little bit of lattice trim for the edges and a nice 1×3 around the base. I painted these boards prior to attaching them so I wouldn’t have to worry about taping.

You could stop here! We chose to run our shiplap all the way to the ceiling 1. because we liked the way it looked and 2. because we have an intake vent that we wanted to hide! It worked perfectly. I used more lattice trim to give it a finished look.

Overall I am SO happy with how this project came together. Our living room finally has that cozy feeling and it transformed a huge blank wall into the focal point of our great room.

A few takeaways I have from this project are:

• Black Paint somehow gets EVERYWHERE.

• Make sure you have the correct saw blade when cutting plywood. Otherwise it splinters!

• Always cut in with paint or stain between your faux shiplap.

• Measure TWICE. In some instances 3 times!

Most importantly, be creative! Make this process your own and don’t feel like you have to make your space look EXACTLY like someone else’s. The best part of DIY is getting to make your home EXACTLY the way you want it. If you give this project a try, be sure to tag us so we can see!

Paint colors: Walls – Cameo White – Behr, Fireplace: Satin Black – Behr

Valentine’s Day – Free Printables

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I wanted to share a few of the Valentine’s that I have created for my boys over the years.

Some of these work perfectly on their own and you don’t have to pair them with anything but I like to include a little treat for the kids – plus my oldest always loves to help put them together! My favorite treat bags & supplies are all linked here. I recommend printing these on some sort of card stock!

These hot wheels Valentine’s are the cutest! Use a hole punch on the gray circles, hot glue a hot wheels car in the middle and add some fun twine.

Pair these tags with your favorite flavor of Tootsie Roll!

For the Super Mario fans – these minimalist Mario Valentine’s were a hit. We paired them with some Super Mario fruit snacks.

These sucker Valentine’s are SO easy and SO cute. I found the heart shaped suckers in the seasonal aisle at Walmart.

I paired these “You Color My World” tags with heart shaped crayons. See tutorial here. These would also be cute with some Skittles or other colored candy!

I paired these with these some super cute train whistles I found on Amazon.

For a healthy treat option – I paired these with a cutie!

I paired these with apple sauce and yogurt pouches. You could also attach these to a juice box!

Pre-Holiday Organization Tips + Tricks

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The most wonderful time of the year is upon us. The next few months will be spent eating entirely too much and making memories with family & friends…and then there are the gifts. If there’s one thing I’ve learned while being a mom it’s that people LOVE buying for children. With the gifts comes the dilemma of where to put everything. This is why a few times every year (usually before Birthdays & Christmas) I make it a point to go through the house to make space for what’s to come. I have a few tips for maximizing your space and keeping those cluttered rooms organized.

This year, the first thing I tackled was the stack of board games and puzzles that was taking up a good portion of our 4 year olds closet. The boxes were super bulky, and were starting to look pretty worn down. I found some zippered pouches on Amazon and they were the perfect solution.

Zippered Pouches

These bags came in several different sizes so I was able to fit every game perfectly. I also took the time to snip the name from the side of each box, and tape it to the front of the bags so we can easily tell what’s inside. I was able to fit 8 board games and 4 puzzles into one 21 x 15 inch drawer. This seriously freed up a ton of space and even better – no more torn up boxes!

Next up I wanted to find better homes for his smaller items (like Legos, marbles, etc). These clear flip-top boxes I found at Home Depot are the best! They’re cheap ($2 each), stackable and the fact that they’re clear allows your kids to see what’s inside so they can easily find what they’re looking for.

For larger items that don’t fit into cube storage, I like to use these wooden crates. They’re super affordable and bring a little bit of texture to the closet space. You could also stain or paint them, but I prefer the natural wood. We bought ours at Walmart several years back, but you can find them pretty much anywhere for around $10 each.

Now that I had everything sorted into bins & containers, it was time to find a home for all of it. Adding a shelf inside the closet made a huge difference and gave me quite a bit more storage (with some to spare). It’s amazing how much more functional adding a shelf or two will make a space.

Our nursery hasn’t had much in it other than clothes and diapers, but now that our baby is getting bigger, I’ve been pulling more toys out of the attic. We added these $30 cube shelves to the closet and it gave us a great place to store everything neatly. Down the road we’d love to have nice, built-in closet systems installed, but these work perfectly for the time being.

We hope you found some of this helpful as you prepare for the upcoming holiday season. We know all too well that this time of year can be just as stressful and hectic as it is joyous. Don’t let yourself get overwhelmed. Here are a few additional tips to help keep your rooms clutter free.

Things to Remember

Store, Sell, Donate or Trash

A few times a year, inventory the items in your home to figure out what can be put into storage and what could be sold, donated or thrown out.

Baskets + Bins are Everything

Decorative bins are super functional, but also look good and can add texture to any room.

Dressers are Not Just for Clothes

Get a huge dresser. The dresser in our nursery not only holds clothes, but also functions as a changing table, diaper storage and extra linen storage among other things.

Utilize Empty Space

Look at every empty space is potential storage. We built this train board that fits under our son’s bed.
We love it because it doesn’t take up any floor space in his room when he’s not using it.