DIY – Upgraded Built-in’s

One of my spring projects was to give a simple upgrade to our living room built-in’s that bookend our fireplace.  I planned to do this with textured wall-paper, that I have used in a few other spots around the house like our dining room built-in’s, our stair-backs on our stairs leading to our master, and even in our DIY bar that started out in our apartment. Overkill? No, surprisingly this is the most subtle upgrade you could do to these tiny spaces for a big impact. Not to mention it’s extremely affordable ($20  for 56 sq.ft.) and super easy to do.

Since we live in a century home, I like to build off the history of the home and add to it when possible, this smaller ‘tin ceiling’ patterned print is the perfect accent to give a face lift without completely giving it an overhaul and taking it into a different era. Textured Wallpaper - Lowes - the bee life



After about 30-minutes of leisurely watching eNews (learning all about Lemonade) and measuring, cutting, soaking and putting into place, boom! Instant upgrade. All while dinner was cooking in the oven.


DSCN1988With the doors closed, and if the lightening is just right, you can hardly notice – but on the flip-side, if the lighting is just right, you can also see how pretty this added touch is.  Sadly, I ran out of paper and was only able to get one side done, I completely underestimated the amount I had left over from the stairs in order to complete these built-ins. But it was a good start, and like I said – easy, not very time intensive, and pretty straight forward for $20 a roll.


Latest Obsessions: For the Home 

HERE’S WHAT I have been obsessed with in and around the home, especially since our master is nearly completed.  These are the things I am constantly looking for whether it be in the store or buried in a photo album.

Old Photos: Since the inception of the gallery wall in our living room, and the idea of using old, black and white photographs, (from years long before I was ever born) I can’t help but want to find more! There are so many hidden gems stored away that I know I haven’t found yet.  The last time I was home I insisted my parents dig out their old photos… And there is was, these beautiful wedding pictures of my grandma B, pictures I’d never seen before, pictures that took my breathe away (one pictured below). I also need to dig around in B’s grandma Dee’s pictures. I love making copies and filling my frames with family and memories that make up our history.

Table Top Clocks: I am over the wall clock, practical and useful in some rooms (like the kitchen) but not so much in other rooms. I LOVE table top clocks, vintage or modern, gold or silver, I’m probably going to start hoarding them and put one in every room! I just stumbled upon these gems at Target, $9.99 each, I’ll take one of each, please!
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Wooden Accents: With recent DIY projects, I find myself drawn more and more to custom wooden signs with hand crafted letters. I also love wooden frames that elevate the look and feel while tying in a natural element to the room and adding warmth. I have a specific DIY in mind to help finish off the gallery wall in our master, something similar below, only incorporating B and I’s initials or a special date or longitude/latitude.  There are also plenty of pieces like this found in stores, that have a custom, hand-drawn look for the not so crafty people!

What are you obsessing about lately when it comes to pieces in and around your home?

Spring Projects

It’s April 1st! Can we officially think spring, yet?

I’m going too, and to help think spring here is an oh so exciting list of some projects at and around the house that I want to accomplish this spring.

  1. Install new doors: We purchased new doors for our back and side, that are a little more hearty and will hopefully keep some drafts out.  Installing these will give a bit of a face-lift, boring project but a nice upgrade.
  2. Window tables: We had glass block installed over the winter in our basement and have these awesome 100-year old windows that were taken out, I want to clean up at least one or two and create a little coffee table for our sun-room.  Whether it be simple, or have an extra shelf for space.
  3. Paint the Exterior of our house: As much as we would love to get new vinyl siding, that just isn’t in the budget for us right now.  So I’m starting to look for some estimates to see how much a fresh paint job on the house would be, would give it the face lift it needs, as much as I’d like to think B and I could do this – I don’t even want to try.
  4. New lattice in the front: The current lattice is attached to the support underneath the front porch, and it’s so heavy that it’s causing everything to sag. So we  need to clean this up a bit and secure it in another way. I’ve also been thinking about some different options other that your standard diamond lattice pattern… like these below.
  5. Landscape the front: Once we get the lattice complete, I would love to get our front professionally landscaped, mainly because I have no clue where to start and trust me I’ve tried. But we have a blank canvas that is just dying for some life and a little extra privacy for our front porch, although I am scared to see how much this might cost.
  6. Scrapbook! Although this isn’t a “house” project, I am in desperate need to catch-up with my scrapbooking, I am over a year behind and have plenty of photos to start posting into a page. This is the perfect rainy day project on the weekends.
  7. Wallpaper Built-In’s: With the left over wallpaper from the stairs going up into our master, I’d like to wallpaper the insides of our built-in’s in our living room, we did this in the dining room and it makes an understated pop to the room and brightens it up!

The list could go on… I am sure there are a handful of other projects we will come up with, I know B has his own little list of things he is already planning in his head, like doing some updates to the laundry area in the basement and organizing that!  The projects are endless, and I knew after the attic was finished it wouldn’t be long before he started itching for a new one! Come on warm weather, we’ve got some things to do!!

DIY: Bridal Shower Decor

The fun thing for every party or event, at least in my opinion, is in the details! It’s the little things that make an impact and can really elevate the look and feel, every little thing, from the signage to the centerpieces to the activities and photos. You may remember a few of my inspiration ideas for Katie’s Bridal Shower from THIS POST, back in January… well now you get to see the spin I took on them and even how to make these yourself!

Photo-Booth Ribbon Wall

You will need…
1) About 5-6 different types of ribbon (different thickness, patterns, colors) and about 2-spools of each type (total of 12 spools; try and go when it’s on-sale or you have a coupon!)
2) Rope or cord long enough for 6-ft length (can vary based on your need)
3) Hot glue gun and glue sticks
4) Measuring Tape
5) Scissors

I cut my ribbon pretty much at the same length and did a little over 4-ft, again you can customize as you please but this may affect how much ribbon you buy.  I did a little over 4-ft to accommodate for a fold-over in the next step.  So, the purpose for my ribbon wall backdrop, was to simply serve as that, a back drop for a make-shift photo booth that the shower (not intended for full body picture taking!)

Once I had all of my ribbon cut I began to start a pattern of how the ribbons would be organized, I did a little mix-matching too because I wanted to make it look more organic.  I tied the ends of my rope, so that it would be even, and then I started gluing the ribbon by folding over the edges and gluing these tight.  I would suggest doing this on a surface you don’t mind getting sticky and hot glue residue everywhere.
CAUTION: You will burn your fingers, it might be smart to use a utensil of some sort to push down the folded ribbon, unless you don’t mind burning your fingers (like me).
CAUTION #2: Be careful where you put your hot glue gun down, and to not rest your hand on it and burn your pinky (like me).

So hopefully you can finish this with only minor or no burns, and have a beautiful backdrop for your special day!

A few other tips: knowing where you’re going to hang this banner ahead of time (and the color of the walls) may be helpful, as I mentioned in the post about Katie’s shower I had never been to the venue, so I was hoping and praying it would all workout. Luckily the venue didn’t mind tacking things to the wall (but other venues might not!) and the tacks were a bit tricky with the thickness of the rope.

Mimosas & Bride-to-Be Banners

So you can buy these on Etsy for $18-20 each or you could make these for a grand total of $6-8 each and a little bit of your time!

You will need…
1) Scrapbook paper sheets (you should be able to get 4-letters out of one 12×12 sheet – buy a few extra is you think you might mess up! I would also recommend the heavier card-stock pieces too, usually solid colors.
2) Roll of ribbon of your choice (at least a half-inch thick)
3) Paint/stencils or markers
4) Hole punch and scissors

I fold the scrapbook paper in half, and cut and then cut halves of the half’s, to get four squares.  For the mimosas banner, I used different patterned paper and for the Bride-to-Be banner I used a darker, burlap like color to mimic the inspiration I found on Pinterest, aka Etsy. You can then start lettering on the squares, again for these two banners I did a mix of markers and then paint with stencils to do a more rustic look. Once everything is dry, I use the hole punch to cut two holes at the top corners of each square and then I thread my ribbon through and cut appropriately for length. These both worked out perfectly for a little something extra at the shower!

IMG_1133IMG_1113A few other pieces that help top everything off where mason jar centerpieces with ribbon glued around the center, with baby’s breath and carnations filling the jars! Adding something fresh to the tables, definitely made an impact. I also had mini-chalk boards that were signs for a table with goodies and even for the photo-booth.

The cost to make these vs. buying them definitely saved money and I was able to create completely custom pieces that fit a theme to have everything match, while incorporating her bridal colors when and where I could.

DIY – Reading Side Table

As I have mentioned in a few previous posts, I was on a little mission to try and find some “trash treasures” on garbage day, older pieces that just needed some TLC – well I found one that I picked up back in October and finally finished this piece up. It was a side table with no drawers, a few torn spots but relatively in good shape. See for yourself. . .

I had initially wanted to spray paint it a bright color and find some baskets to go in the inside (but didn’t really have a complete game plan for the inside).  I’m glad we waited a bit for a few of the other pieces in our master suite to wrap up, because I ended up sanding this down and just re-staining it to match the tops of our night stands (plus I like staining pieces WAYY more than painting or spray painting). So I sanded this bad boy down, because we had gotten the top a little messier than we we had found it (oops!) and gave it a few coats of stain.  I found my inside solution one day at Target near the front $1 bins – I grabbed some adhesive paper for $3 a roll – and gave it a shot. Well I scored, two rolls later this baby was brought back to life.

IMG_0933IMG_0934IMG_0935The basket was a gift from Kates (filled with wine) that I happen to try in one of the openings and it worked out perfectly! We did have to buy some thin plywood that we ended up cutting and gluing on the top and bottom shelf’s to make them level, since there was a dip down. So other than the nominal cost of that, the only other expense was the $6 for the adhesive paper, since we already had the stain and poly. I love the way it came out, especially with the subtle pattern and pop of color!

Happy Friday!


Attic Update – 8 months

Exciting updates with this post on our biggest home renovation to date! Our attic turned master suite-oasis, and ohh boy did we out do ourselves this time. Attic Update Month 8 - the bee lifeSo I’m probably getting you all excited for a big reveal, sorry folks, not yet. But I do promise a few sneak peaks! The perfectionist in me has a few things that still need to be purchased and a DIY that is going to make a big difference – so until then we will all have to wait for the big reveal!

We are up and living in our master suite, and it’s awesome! It came out exactly how I pictured and more! Not to mention our second floor is now fully open to family and friends for a weekend visit. Now for the sneak peaks…   Our DIY mini barn door, strictly decorative to cover an uglier door heading into a storage space. We used old gas pipe we had found in the demo and threw together the rest!  If you’re interested in the specifics, leave a comment below, but I saw inspiration for a full size door and we just figured out the measurements for our custom piece.

Textured wallpaper on the stair backers. We had started with deciding to paint the backs white and the tops grey, but the white backs just weren’t cutting it. Adding this pre-glued wallpaper was beyond easy and  an amazing upgrade. Totally worth the $20 and 40-minutes after work!

A little sneak of the gallery wall! I am loving the way it’s turning out, however it still needs a few extra final touches! I am a firm believer that you can’t rush these types of projects you have to look and do what speaks to you and the wall. (Nerdy, I know)

Our little seating area!! Obsessed with these chairs. Obsessed with these pillows. Still need a few final touches like a light for the side table, a foot ottoman and maybe a few other pictures.

So yes, we’ve been busy! A lot of this was wrapped up a few weekends ago, the day B proposed we had put a solid 10 hours in, since then we’ve been able to dial back, slow down and work on the smaller things as we can- oh and enjoy the finished product!

Stay tuned!

DIY – Night Stands

As our attic nears completion (spoiler) I wanted to share a few of the other projects along the way that although much smaller than the overall guts, walls and refinish, have been key for the final touches.

With such a big project like this, I really wanted to try and find a bargain or two especially with furnishings, and I would say we did a pretty good job of splitting that between bargain vs. brand new.

The Before

One surprise that took me awhile to come around too (and find) was our night stands. I found plenty that I loved, but not enough for the price tag that came with them. It had been my mission on garbage days to find some treasures people put out on the tree lawns – but no such luck (only found one).

Enter the “unfinished lamp table with two drawers” from Home Depot. Similar to what we wanted and a price tag that was palatable ($71.99), especially when purchasing two for the price of one finished  – not to mention these suckers are sturdy!

International Concepts Unfinished Lamp Table with 2-Drawer

The After

We ended up painting and staining the tops to mimic one of the pricier side tables we had seen from Target, upgraded the hardware and wah-la you have a high-end night stand for a fraction of the cost! We love the way they turned out.

Since we already had stain and poly from our dining room table project, we saved on materials cost there. We also already had white paint for other projects and the walls (another cost savings) and the knobs I found in a 4-pack at Marshalls for $4.99. Can’t beat it!

Although this was a little extra work on top of all the other finishing touches like paint, trim, caulking, more painting, cleaning, etc. it was totally worth it and we have a completely custom piece that finish the space!

Gallery Wall Inspiration

As we near the finishing touches for our master suite, there is one wall that is completely random the room is also in need of a dedicated place to add a pop of color and make a statement (you’ll soon see the randomness when final photos are posted).

So I’ve been thinking… gallery wall! But when I go to look for inspiration I can’t find a happy medium of what I am looking for, since my ideal gallery wall is all the same, evenly spaced and matched up, like the one below.  A lot of the gallery walls I find are either simple and uniform (not what I’m going for in this space) or completely over done and just too much. Like I said, I want happy medium.

Generations of wedding days. Also like this layout for travel pics:

Here is some of my inspiration and my go-to places for finding the perfect mix of unique, personal, and colorful items for a gallery wall, especially if you’re trying to mix up the mold without over killing it!  Places like Marshall’s/TJMaxx/Home Goods are perfect to find different pieces and pops of color, I also love websites like Society 6 for unique pieces of art that’re trendy and different.  My friend Lucy; also creates insanely cute floral letters and unique hand-drawn prints which truly give your gallery wall an authentic feel.  Another goal for mine is to have a mix of textures and materials, I’m thinking, wood accents, metal frames, or elements of gold to really pop and add dimension.

Gallery Wall Inspiration - the bee life
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I already have some pieces at home that’re laying around to help get this statement gallery wall started! I just want to be sure to have a good mix of girly and masculine, since it’s also B’s space, any hints or suggestions on how to incorporate that aspect into the mix?

My Latest Obessions

Taking a page from Andy Cohen’s book, HERE’S WHAT I’m obsessed with when it comes to home decor… because I have an entire master suite I am dying to decorate.

Neutrals – White and grey! More please!! I love creating a blank canvas to be able decorate and accessorize with pops of color.  Not to mention white and bright makes a room look 10x bigger, who doesn’t want their room to look bigger?


Floral Accents – This is my way to incorporate a little girly into a space without being totally overt with pink walls … like I would love to do. *smiles* I am completely in love with these pillows and they’re even prettier in real life – because they have flecks of gold in them. *swoon* The candle from Anthropologie also has flecks of gold and an incredible scent.


Navy and Gold – I mean… do I even need to explain? This is one of the most beautiful and classic pairings, in my humble opinion, especially when these colors are used as accents they can make a big impact, although if overdone not so hot.

I won’t lie – you’ll see a few of these beauties in our master suite when it’s all finished. What’re you currently obsessing over? That piece you’ve been eyeing have pinned AND favorited on your Pinterest board.

Product Links:
Neutrals: Unfinished Nights Stands | Upholstered Fabric Chair | Shag Rug
Florals: Pillows | Candle
Navy and Gold: Handsome/Gorgeous Frames | Ottoman | DIY Curtains