Moving from the city to the suburbs

Category Archives: DIY

The girls’ nursery is finally starting to come together! Here is a sneak peek at one big piece of the room I finished with the help of my mom: overhauling an old dresser to use for the girls’ changing table.

Painting an old dresser has been on my DIY list since moving into our new house. I think I read through a thousand Pinterest projects and instructions to try and figure out the best way to tackle painting a dresser. Oh they make it look so easy, don’t they? Let me tell you from one novice-DIYer to another, this kind of a project scared the living crap out of me. But I’m so glad I jumped into the deep end of the pool because I love the way it turned out!

But before we get ahead of ourselves… let me bring you back to Earth with the reality of what I started with:

dresser diy before

I bought the dresser above at a local consignment store called Revival in Overland Park. They had a lot of great quality furniture that just needs to a new owner.

Here’s a quick run-down of the DIY steps it took to give this mid-century modern dresser a facelift! (Hint: if you just want to see the finished dresser, scroll to the bottom 🙂

1. Prep

After spotting this gem in the back of the store, I inspected the dresser to make sure it was in good condition, all the drawers worked and it didn’t have any flaws in the construction. I also took a lot of measurements to make sure it would fit into the room and the changing pad would fit on top nicely. We decided it was a good fit and hauled it back to the house to get started!

First, we pulled out all the drawers and set up a painting workstation in the garage with old sheets. We cleaned off the dresser, dusted and sanded down a few rough areas to get the dresser ready to paint.

I was not a fan of the old handles on the dresser, so I picked out two different kinds of handles and knobs from Anthropologie to give it a more modern look. Since the new handles were different lengths than the old ones, we unscrewed the old handles and filled the drawer holes with Elmer’s wood filler. After drying, we sanded down the excess glue to achieve a smooth surface for painting. (If you’re re-using the same handles, this part is unnecessary.)

2. Paint

We used two coats of Annie Sloane Pure White chalk paint to completely cover the wood grain. I wanted a finish where you could no longer see the wood grain, but if you’re going for a more shabby chic look, one coat would be plenty. The Annie Sloan lineup of chalk paint is a great solution for people like me who don’t want to mess with wood stains, lots of sanding, etc.

3. Replace handles

Anthropologie has a great selection of knobs & pulls, but I would also suggest checking out local vintage stores and Craigslist, too (depending on what kind of a look you’re going for). I picked out these Ceramic Peg Knobs in Mint and glass pull handles, similar to these Bubbled Glass Handles.

Anthropologie Ceramic Peg Knob

dresser diy knobs anthropologie

Once the paint dried, we measured the length of the new handles and drilled new holes in the drawers. We screwed in the new knobs and pulls and voila! A white dresser/changing table fit for the twin girls’ modern room.

dresser diy after

More photos of the complete nursery to come soon…

What’s your favorite DIY furniture project from your nursery or home?

Jen Signature

Source: via Jen on Pinterest

How cute is this fashion collaboration? Keds for Kate Spade. Considering I’m not wearing heels these days, these polka-dot shoes are looking pretty appealing for summer kicks. If you’re as in love as I am, you should hurry though because these are already sold out on (tip: it looks like you can still order through or

Since I don’t exactly have $75 to spend on these right now, I see a fun DIY on these in my near future. The ones below could be fun to re-imagine, too!

Source: Jen on Pinterest

Life has been a bit crazy lately. Right after closing on our new house on Thursday, I had to go to Los Angeles for a weekend work trip. This meant pushing back our moving date to this weekend, but Mike figured in the meantime he could do a little painting before we moved in our furniture.

We picked out paint samples from Benjamin Moore (p.s. this part was SO hard) and went over the night after our closing to decide on a few key rooms we wanted to transform. Our priority list included the kitchen/living room, the master bedroom and bathroom and the nursery. There are a few other rooms on our to-do list, but these were the ones where the original paint colors in the house just wouldn’t do. Let me tell you, choosing paint colors in two hours before leaving town? Not easy. Especially when you’re an emotional mess of a pregnant lady, just ask Mike or my mom.

Little did I know, a whole village of family and friends was coming to help out. They say it takes a village … and can I just say that I have the best village a girl could ask for? Mike’s parents came down to help, my parents came over to help, my brother, some of my girlfriends. I think we have almost every room we want to paint complete! That’s a lot of painting in three days. It’s moments like this when I realize just how lucky I am to have family close-by. THANK YOU to everyone who helped already make our new house look so amazing.

Here are a few before/after painting shots of the living room and master bedroom – more to come soon! I’m especially excited about making over the nursery 🙂 Of course, we haven’t moved any furniture in yet so for now just picture a perfectly decorated room alongside the new paint.

Kitchen/Living Room


Here’s a photo of the room before we bought the house. This paint color looked yellow/greenish in person and I wanted to find something that would complement the existing grey tones in the fireplace.
living room before

Paint Sample Choices

I was about 95% sure I was going to love Benjamin Moore’s Revere Pewter (shown on top) after seeing it all over the place on Pinterest. Just to be safe, I tested Benjamin Moore’s Stone Harbor (a darker hue shown on bottom), but the entry way is a dark grey color already so I wanted to lighten up the main level with a lighter color.
living room paint samples revere pewter stone harbor


I’m in love. Revere Pewter might be the best paint color ever (at least in my book). It’s a nice warm grey that has just a little beige in it.
living room after rever pewter

Master Bedroom


Again, here’s another photo of the master bedroom (before we bought the house). For some, bright blue might be a great color. For me, it doesn’t exactly say “relaxing master retreat” which is what I need. Right before we moved out of our condo in Chicago, we painted it in Benjamin Moore’s Nimbus and fell in love. I swear, our whole new house isn’t going to be all grey… (although admittedly most of the paint colors will fall into the greige category).
master before

Paint Sample Choices

On top is Benjamin Moore’s Nimbus (the color we already we knew we liked). On bottom is Benjamin Moore’s Stone Harbor. I thought I may want a darker tone, but it turns out I still love Nimbus.
master before benjamin moore nimbus stone harbor


Ta-da! The reveal sans furniture is a tab underwhelming, yes, but I really like how the color turned out. It’s just enough of a silvery-grey to calm the space – which is exactly what I need to feel when I’m in my bedroom.

master after benjamin moore nimbus

More room reveals to come soon! You know, maybe even with some furniture in them?

DIY Maternity Shirt Countdown Close-up

The final product. Just cross off each week for your photo.

Today marks week 18 of my pregnancy. My doctor said twin pregnancies average at 36-38 weeks for delivery (some of my books have said even sooner – eek!), so I’m halfway to meeting my two little ones. I’ve even started to feel movement – which is really exciting but MAN those babies have been keeping me up at night! Four legs + four arms moving around = not very comfortable. And of course they seem to wake up right when I’m laying down for bed… The next half of this should definitely be interesting.

I’m sad to say that I’ve been terrible at taking weekly bump photos – it’s simply crazy to think how fast it’s going by. My original goal was to take a weekly photo so I could create a little keepsake/memory of my pregnancy. Hopefully I’ll get back on track! (Hint: Scroll down for my bump photos so far.)

I’ve seen so many different and creative ways to document a pregnancy. One of them caught my eye and I decided to use a fun countdown shirt to take weekly photos. In true lazy DIY-er fashion though, I decided to take my own “cut out 10 steps” approach. I bought a HUGE stretchy maternity shirt from Hobby Lobby thinking I’d fill it out by the end, but I may have gone a little overboard. I guess only time will tell!

Here is a brief how-to for creating your own DIY pregnancy countdown shirt. I promise, it’s easy and cheap. In total, I spent $15 on this project!


1 Cotton Maternity Shirt with lots of stretch (I used a Fashion Gear Maternity Shirt that was on clearance at Hobby Lobby for $5.99)

2 Fabric Markers – one black, one red (I used FabricMate Chisel Tip pens, both $2.99)

1 Lettering Stencil (I used a 3/4″ TechTools Stencil; This is a link to the full set, but I only bought a single stencil available in-store for $2.99)

red fabric pen fabricmate

Grab your black and red fabric pens…

lettering stencil DIY Maternity Countdown Shirt

Measure out the numbers evenly on the shirt and use the black pen to write the numbers using the lettering stencil. There should be 5 weeks per line with 8 rows total. When finished, cross of the number each week with the red fabric pen.

DIY Maternity Shirt Close-up 13 weeks twins

13 Weeks

DIY Maternity Shirt Close-up 16 weeks twins

16 Weeks

DIY Maternity Shirt Close-up 18 weeks twins

18 Weeks

You know a holiday is approaching when your Pinterest feed is overwhelmed by over the top crafts and ideas. Now that Pinterest is becoming more mainstream, don’t be surprised if you show up to a party this year that looks like it came straight from your feed. Here are a few clues to tell you’re at a Pinterest-inspired Halloween party. Ten points for Gryffindor if your host has all of these.

1. There’s an ombre pumpkin . . .

Source: via Amy on Pinterest

2. . . . or an especially decorative, outside-the-box, collection of pumpkins.

Source: via Debera on Pinterest

3. You are offered healthy Halloween treats . . .

Source: via Emi on Pinterest

4. . . . or creepy themed hors d’oeuvres.

Source: via Deena on Pinterest

5. You notice costume-themed nail art.

Source: via Genevieve on Pinterest

6. The family pet has a better costume than most of the guests.

Source: via Beth on Pinterest

7. Every room is part of the theme, even the bathroom.

Source: via Jill on Pinterest

Source: via Emanuela on Pinterest

8. Candy corn is used in a way it was not originally intended.

Source: via Cathlyn on Pinterest

9. Mason jars have somehow become part of the decor.

Source: via Heidi on Pinterest

10. A pumpkin has turned into the most useful decoration at the party.

Source: via Jennifer on Pinterest

Did I miss something? Tell me in the comments!

Pumpkin Makeover Cover Photo

When it comes to DIY, I am of the mindset that a project must be uber-simple and cheap in order for it to be worth my time. So basically, anything that makes it to this blog is easy enough for anyone to do. In other words: I’m no Martha Stewart.

Here’s a quick and easy how-to for transforming ordinary pumpkins. As we all know, carving can be very messy and unless I’m doing it with kids to get in the holiday spirit, I’d rather skip the messiness and cut straight to the end effect. This year, I decided to go a different route with pumpkin decorating and create a luxe, Autumn set of pumpkins that would last through all of October.


  • Pumpkin(s) + spooky accessories (if desired)
  • Tarp or newspaper (and outside area)
  • Spray paint
  • Painters tape

pumpkin makeover diy step 1


Step 1: You can buy any size/type of pumpkin(s) you want. I bought three different pumpkins – two real, one fake – and a fun little foam skull I bought at Michael’s for $1. I figured the fake pumpkin would last year-to-year and the skull would go beyond Halloween decorating and make it onto a bookcase in my home office. Isn’t he cute?

Make sure to clean off dirt on your real pumpkins so you have a clean surface. Soap and water on a paper towel with do. Let dry. Lay down a tarp or newspaper outside and set pumpkins + accessories down on top of it.

pumpkin makeover diy step 2

Step 2: Pick a spray paint color you like. If you’re planning on putting these outdoors, remember to find an outdoor-friendly variety (I’m keeping mine inside as a table decoration). You could go festive with black, white, or even chalkboard paint! I chose a metallic gold by Rust-Oleum. Here is a similar outdoor-friendly version. Krylon also has a line of specialty metallic spray paint.  You can buy it at your local Home Depot or Lowes for about $5-$6 (unless you live in Chicago where spray paint is banned).

pumpkin makeover diy step 3

Step 3 (optional): If you’re spray painting the whole pumpkin, you can skip this step.

If you are looking to add an accent, such as a gold stem (as shown above), cover the portions of the pumpkin you do not want painted with painters tape (I like Scotch Blue). You may also want to drape a tarp over the sides to be extra careful and keep any excess spray from landing on the pumpkin.

pumpkin makeover diy step 4

Spraypainted gold skull

Step 4: This is the fun part. Spray the entire surface of the pumpkin (or just your selected area) with your spray paint color. Spray evenly, so you have a single coat across the whole object.

After 15-20 minutes, the paint should be dry (depending on the brand, make sure to check the label). Turn the pumpkin or accessory and spray any missing areas.

All Things Thrifty has a great spray paint Q&A with lots of tips if you’ve never done this before.

pumpkin makeover diy final photo

And there you have it! Here is my collection of made-over pumpkins and my little skull friend (he needs a name, any ideas?)!

Questions? Tips? Please share in the comments!

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