A Quick & Easy Spray Paint Makeover for Desk Accessories

Since I’m transitioning into a new role at work, someone had to take over my old position.  Luckily we had someone within the department who was interested and ready for a change, plus she already knows how we operate and the history of many projects.  She’s had to share a desk at every job she’s ever had so having her own desk in this new position is a big deal for her.  I decided to really make it special with a few fun accessories she can use to set up her own space.  I picked up a cute mouse pad and some note pads at Target for a few dollars and then found this inspirational free printable online to continue the pink theme.  I asked a friend to pick up a simple IKEA frame on her trip down south for the holidays and printed the artwork to fit.

While these couple of pieces were nice, I wished I could buy her a whole new set of accessories to really make her desk snazzy, but that just wasn’t in my monthly budget after the holidays.  Then inspiration struck – I remembered I had a can of gold spray paint at home and because I made my own DIY paper clip jar for my new desk I didn’t need the metal mesh clip cup I’d used at my old desk.  So I decided to give spray painting it a try since it worked so well on my desk caddy organizer at home.

It worked pretty well and coordinated with the mouse pad’s gold dots.  That’s when I knew I was on to something.  I took the business card holder and tape dispenser home over the weekend to give them the same makeover.

The card holder was pretty simple, but the tape dispenser needed a good cleaning along the little groove and a bit of taping off so the tooth part where you tear the tape didn’t get painted.  Now both look like the fancy desk accessories you buy new at the stores, rather than the boring bankers black they used to be.

Finally I painted an IKEA metal bucket I had on hand for a pen cup to complete the set.  I had run out of spray paint at that point and had to buy another can, which wasn’t an exact match to the first but it all still works together.

When I presented her with the spread she was very surprised and loved the whole set.  She officially starts the new position next month and is excited to get her space set up with her new bling.  It was a simple way to give her an extra little bit of motivation for the challenges she will encounter as she learns her new duties and it didn’t ‘break the bank’! 😉

Adding Function to the Laundry Room

Today I’m sharing a quick addition I made to the laundry room.  Now that we’ve got the counter top finished and the sink operational I found that we needed a spot for a hand towel to dry your hands.  I’d been eyeing this vintage industrial style shelf and towel bar for a while so when I spotted it for a good price I ordered it quickly, figuring it would either work in here or the guest bathroom.  Due to shipping costs I had to have it sent to my Mother-in-Law’s house and wait to pick it up until our trip earlier this summer.

This spot has had several variations since we moved in.  First I had some DIY decor here, then there was a rustic laundry sign, but I decided to sell that and have a different one made for the wall above the board and batten on the other side of the room where the tobacco baskets are currently.  Those will move to the guest room above the new headboard.  I plan on making that change this winter, when there’s not so much going on in the yard.

The metal look ties in perfectly with the DIY drying rack the Hubs built me above the window.  I styled it with one of my faux succulent planters and a blue mason jar that I’ll be filling with vintage clothespins.  I may add a few other little things, but will let those “find” me in the coming months.  You can’t tell from this angle but the bottom of the shelf is an open style wire so whatever I use on it will have to be big enough that it does’t fall through.

As you can see from the winkles in the towel, it’s been getting plenty of use and it’s just the right size for the wall without blocking my DIY soap pump in the corner.  One more project done, and you know functional decor is my favorite kind! 🙂

Our New Media Cabinet

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Today I’m sharing our fantastic new media cabinet.  This is another piece created by Anne-Tiques who refinished my family heirloom hope chest and did our dining room sideboard.  If you’ve been around the blog a while you know this is what our previous media cabinet looked like.  It was nice, but seeing all those DVDs made it feel cluttered and I was way over constantly cleaning dust bunnies out from underneath it.  Once we’d found a piece to refinish we posted this one for sale and it sold instantly.

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Unfortunately, the new cabinet wasn’t ready yet so we lived like the Clampits for a few weeks using a Rubbermaid tote as a stand for the cable box.  We’re classy like that… 🙂

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I knew I wanted a printer cabinet style piece for this spot and had Anne on the lookout for one, when she suggested we consider reworking a piece she’d picked up a while ago but had been buried in her stash.  It originally had drawers so she removed those and made doors with faux drawer fronts and created a panel at the bottom to continue the faux drawers all the way down.  She also closed in the sides so I didn’t have to worry about dust bunnies!  Here’s a great before & after shot she did.

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It’s got a completely different look now and works perfectly in the space.  I love how the grey grounds the area without being heavy and the distressed finish is perfect for my crazy household.

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It was fate that we ended up with this piece and requested it when we did because Anne had just purchased the exact amount of handles we needed and they were the style I requested.  I wasn’t sure about the brassiness at first, but I like a mix of metals and it gives a good contrast to the panels.

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The top drawer became an open shelf to house the cable box, DVD player and Wii.  Now that they each have their own space we can put them all on risers to help with the heat these types of electronics create.  Inside she created multiple shelves where the drawers used to be so we have plenty of storage room.  And because there’s no dividers inside it frees up extra room that we can utilize.

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She also created a secret compartment at the bottom where we can store our Wii Fit board and accessories.  It’s a great spot for all those larger pieces that I want handy but not out in plain sight.

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And of course it look absolutely fabulous combined with my favorite show, Fixer Upper!  I think it looks like something Joanna would use in the houses she designs.  It’s gone from an Asian style to farmhouse chic with this revamp.

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Luna was quite interested in the piece when it arrived, and had to check out every nook & cranny to see if she could fit in any of these new hiding spots.  Luckily they are just a tad too small for her and because they are higher than the last piece it’s too awkward for her to try to squeeze into.  Although that’s what I thought with our last set up and she proved me wrong with this sneaky little move so who knows what she’ll attempt.  So far, she’s content to sit on the top and block the TV.

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This was the first of a couple changes I have planned for this room.  We’ll be switching to a sectional sofa and that rug will move out to the deck we’ll be building next summer so I’ll be replacing it with something else.  I’m still on the hunt for the perfect option for both of those changes, but there’s no rush.

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For now I’ll just enjoy the handiwork of my idea and a great local maker’s skills.  Remember this Saturday is Small Business Saturday, so shop small and support your favorite local shops.  Doing so can have a big impact on your community!

Vintage DIY Magnets

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Today I wanted to share a quick DIY project I did with some of my Vintage Market finds.  Remember these fun antique letter blocks I got from Alaska Picker?  They were the perfect size to work as magnets on our chalkboard portion of the new command center.

Home

The backs were solid blocks of wood so there was a perfect surface to attach magnets.

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I picked up a pack of strong magnets at Michaels.  Other shoppers probably thought I was a nut-job as I tested several packs on various metal items around the store before deciding which option had the best grip.  But I a gal’s gotta do what a gal’s gotta do to make sure her project has staying power. 🙂

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I was pretty sure the magnets were strong enough that I could use one per block, but since the pack came with 8 I decided to double them up on each just for good measure.  A little hot glue and we were in business.  It seriously took longer to wait for the glue gun to heat up than it did to glue the magnets down.

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One of the blocks apparently had some paper backing still attached where I added the magnet so it came off, but I cleaned both up and reapplied it without issue.

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And here they are on the chalkboard.  They do blend in a bit with the colors but that’s ok because they are the perfect size for the space.  Once they were up I noticed that having magnets on each corner kept the blocks level rather than having one in the center where the block might get bumped and loose grip, so I’m glad I decided to go that route.

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So what do you think of my new/old magnets? I’d love to see how others have used vintage letter blocks in their décor, so leave me a comment with a photo if you have!

A DIY Command Center

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Containing paper clutter is a constant battle in our home, just as I’m sure many can relate.  Because we enter the house from the garage through the laundry room most of the stuff that comes home ends up dumped on the dining room table or kitchen counters so I figured that was a good place to start.  I decided to create a command center in this little corner where we could write notes, stash important papers and organize the hub’s stuff.

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I started with a small wooden organizer where the hubs can stash his wallet, receipts and notes.  I also found him a small jar with a lid for loose change.  That worked fairly well, but he often had full size papers that he needed handy so I decided to add a wire rack we picked up during one of our trips to Portland.  It had been in the laundry room for a while but never got used there and came down when I did my DIY Ballard Knockoff Décor for that space, so I’m glad it’s found a useful home here.  I used two clear hooks with removable adhesive tape to hang it just under the countertop.  It fits the small nook of space perfectly.

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Originally I wanted to paint the side of the top cabinet to create a chalkboard but the hubs nixed that idea noting that if I changed my mind later removing the paint would damage the cabinet.  What?!  I never change my mind! Well ok.  He might have a point there. 🙂  So I came up with a better idea.  I’d paint a piece of sheet metal and install that on the side of the cabinet so it was both chalkboard and a magnet board!  Of course they didn’t sell a piece that was just the right size so the hubs cut one down for me.

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A couple thin coats of chalkboard paint and it was looking pretty good.  The hardest part was waiting for it to dry in between coats.

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Next I seasoned the chalkboard by rubbing a piece of chalk over the entire surface and then wiping it down.  This helps prevent things from “staying” on the surface after you wipe them down.

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Since the hubs wanted the piece to be removable I attached it with the same removable adhesive strips I’d used on the hooks for the wire rack.  IF I every change my mind I can start at the bottom and work my way up pulling the tabs to release the adhesive.

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I stuck it up on the side of the cabinet against the trim on the front and top of the cabinet so the edges weren’t exposed.  And as you can see, it works great as a magnetic board too holding our early bird tickets for Junk Bonanza outside Portland in October!

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Things were looking pretty good at this point but I wanted to address the uneven edge of the metal along the wall.  The hubs did a great job cutting the sheet metal, but the tool he used had to take a 1/4″ off at a time so he wasn’t able to match the size exactly.  He was pretty frustrated that it wasn’t perfect, so I wanted to find a way to make it work.

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I tried a few pieces of trim we had on hand but most were too big or bulky.  I picked up a square dowel at Lowes but that was too narrow and too thick, so I returned that.  A few days later I was at Michaels and figured I’d look at what they had.  I’m glad I did because I found a piece of balsa wood that was the right thickness and width for what we needed. At less than $2 plus a coupon it was the perfect solution. I gave it a couple coats of stain to match the cabinet color.  It fit so well that it actually stayed up without any adhesive but I wanted to make sure it wouldn’t get bumped off so I added a little hot glue on the backside before putting it up.  The glue should be easy to peel off if I ever need to.

trim

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Now I needed somewhere to store my chalk.  I originally planned to use colored chalk pens like the yellow you saw above, but they have to be primed and I didn’t want to deal with delays when I needed to work up a grocery list, so I opted for old-school white chalk instead.  I used more hot glue to attach this pull handle upside down to create a cup where the chalk sits.  I did have to reposition the cup due to installing it unevenly, which caused the chalk paint to peel up a bit which caused the bare spot under the holder, but I touched that up with a thin coat of chalkboard paint and it looks fine now.  I still need to touch up the wall paint, but I’ll get to that at some point.

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Since the papers in the rack still looked messy I found these simple poly vinyl folders to clean it up a bit.  I wanted something a little cuter, but apparently mid-March is not prime season for two pocket folders.  Who knew right?!  I’ll keep an eye out when the back to school supplies come out in the fall, but for now these seem like they will hold up pretty well and could be easy enough to add simple decoration to with paint or vinyl designs.  That might just be a future post if I do!

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Total cost for the all the materials came in around $50. Because the extra metal and chalkboard paint can be used for other projects that lessens the total a bit too.  I love it and I’m sure it will be super handy once we start fostering and have kiddo’s school papers to manage.   I’m going to keep an eye out for another wire rack that matches this one when we are in Portland this fall in case we need to expand since there’s still room on the bottom cabinet to accommodate another.

I’d love to hear what you think of our new DIY command center or how you created one of your own, so leave me a comment below.

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TDC Before and After

Crafting Organization with Baskets

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I recently added some new organization to my crafting area that I’m pretty excited about.  Although I have tons of storage for tools and small materials in my craft cabinet, I often found that I had larger items saved for projects stashed away in other parts of the house and being out of sight, I often forgot about them.  So when I spotted a simple ladder shelf on the buy/sell page for $25 I jumped on it.

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I knew right away that the wire baskets from the Better Homes & Gardens line I’d been lusting after would work perfectly on the shelves. Unfortunately my local stores didn’t carry the baskets so I had to order them online and wait for them to arrive.

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Once they did, I placed two on each shelf and organized my various project materials in them, leaving the narrower top shelf for my paints and stains.  I also had room to slide a large item behind the lower shelves and rest several flat pieces on the bottom of the shelf frame.

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The baskets are the perfect size to hold all those oddly shaped pieces and the canvas liners keep little parts contained.  They even have chalkboard panels on the front, so I can add labels to them and easily change them as inventory changes.

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This space is still a work in progress, but it feels more inspiring now that it’s well organized with everything ready and available.  And soon that box of barn door hardware tucked next to the cabinet will be installed for a project I’ve been dreaming of since we started construction!  I’ll share the details once it’s complete so watch for that. 🙂

DIY Industrial Vintage Laundry Dry Rack

2Today I’m sharing another industrial pipe project the hubs recently did for me – a dry rack in the laundry room.  I often have sweaters and tops that need to be dried flat, but since I don’t have a space to do that I usually hang those items on a folding dry rack over a vent in the adjacent dining room.  Unfortunately the hubs like his jeans to air dry and are often occupying the folding rack when I need to dry sweaters so my solution was a permanent rack in the laundry room over the sink.

1I originally asked for a bar straight across but the hubs determined that in order to get the best stability we’d have to place the bar higher than I originally thought so he created a small drop down in the design to compensate for the higher spot.  Luckily, I’m pretty tall and can reach the hanger up to catch the rod with the hook easily, so the height is no problem for me.

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As you can see I’ve already put it to good use. It does infringe on Luna’s eating space a bit, but I think she secretly likes hiding behind the clothes when the rack has several items on it and as long as she can see out the window she’s a happy camper and I’m happy to have a space that functions and looks awesome. Thanks honey! 🙂

Shared on Knick of Time’s Vintage Inspiration Party!

DIY Measuring Cup Storage

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I’ve been meaning to do this project for some time now and finally checked it off the list this past weekend while the hubs was sleeping of a cold and I needed something quiet to work on.  Our stacked measuring cups always seemed to be in the way in the cabinet, so I decided it was time they found a different home, one that didn’t cause extra effort when grabbing things in the cabinet.  Since there was a little extra room on both sides of the spice rack the hubs installed on the pantry door and that’s often what we’re measuring with these cups I figured that was a logical spot for them.  A few small hooks on either side of the spice rack was all I needed.Hooks1

The hooks screwed right in, although I did create a pilot hole with a finishing nail and hammer to get things started. I placed each cup as I went so I could eyeball how much space to leave between it and the next.Hooks2

Here’s how the first side looked a few minutes later.  All but one of the set fit on this side.

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So I put the remaining cup on the other side with our odd duck extra from an old set that is handy to keep around.

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Unfortunately the way they were hanging you couldn’t see the measurements with out taking them off the hook.  A metallic sharpie marker took care of that problem.  We’ll see how well it holds up to the washer, but I’m thinking it should be ok since they will have plenty of time to cure and dry before they go in for a spin.

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It might take a bit to get used to the sound they make as they sway against the wood when you open and close the pantry door, but I’m fine with that when it comes with improved organization.  Simple, inexpensive and efficient.  That’s my kind of project!

Shared on Tatertots & Jello’s Link Party Palooza.

The Finished Egg Table

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Remember the custom Green Egg table I had built for the hubs for Christmas?  Well it’s finally sealed and in use!  Hubby decided not to stain it and just do a couple coats of Thompsons water seal.  I think it turned out great. Here it is with the egg inserted.

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The cabinet and drawer provide great storage.  The drawer holds a wholes bag of charcoal with room to spare, which apparently Luna thinks is for her.
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The cabinet has enough room to hold a stool, propane bottle and the oil-less fryer I snagged for him at a charity auction.

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We may still add some hooks on the side to hang the tongs and other utensils but for now it’s ready to grill all summer!EggDONE

TDC Before and After

Wall-to-Wall Work Space!

Hi everyone!  The hubs and I were so busy working on projects last week that I didn’t get a chance to write about any of them, so this week I’ll be playing catch up and have a lot to share!  Up first is the biggest project, our wall-to-wall desk in the office!

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It’s come a long way from the first DIY set-up we did with two filing cabinets and a freebie door when we were in the rental. I started to get a sense of how my dream workspace would function when we expanded the desktop after we moved in to the new house and the recent addition of the industrial style shelves took it up another notch.  Next we stained the raw desktop to match the shelves, which made the desk visually ‘heavy’. Unfortunately, I somehow neglected to take a picture of this stage, but even the hubs agreed that the darker desktop made the entire unit feel a bit big and bulky. Luckily, painting the cabinets was the next step.  To prep, we removed all the hardware and gave the surfaces a light sanding. The hubs taped off the areas around the cabinets and I painted them white. It took a couple of coats, but it definitely brightened the space.

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I wasn’t loving the white at first, but decided to live with it for a while before I made any final decisions. A few days later the hubs installed the new hardware we’d purchased to match the pulls on the cabinet nearest the door and that made all the difference. Suddenly I LOVED the white. Maybe I couldn’t see past the displaced clutter before then or maybe I just needed some contrast so they didn’t feel like big white blobs. Whatever it was, I did another happy dance when I saw them together with the white.

Three of the four cabinets went all the way to the floor, but the cabinet nearest the door had legs. Not only did this not match the other cabinets, it was the perfect place for dust bunnies to collect which meant they had to go. The easy option would have been to cut off the legs, but that would have made the cabinet too short, so instead we opted to install molding around the legs. We picked up a plain baseboard molding with a small curve at the top and cut it to size. Unfortunately, it wasn’t quite tall enough to cover the entire height of the legs, so we got creative.

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A piece of scrap wood filled the space between the legs, but because the legs stick out from the body of the cabinet a bit, there was a gap between the filler board and the molding. The hubs solved this with a paint stick and some wood filler. Genius! Once everything was painted you’d never notice.

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The hubs also rigged up a shelf for the printer in the middle cabinet. He added a small platform on tracks so it can be pulled out when we need to replace ink cartridges or clear a jam.

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Because the space where the shelf was had previously been another drawer there were some odd supports on either side of the interior of the cabinet. Once again the hubs flexed his thinking muscles and came up with a solution. A thin panel attached to the supports made everything flush and quarter round hid the supports from the front.  Luna made sure to inspect his handiwork and apparently approves.

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I swapped out the blue bag the local shred company provides for a much prettier basket I picked up at Target. The grey material has a bit of white, which plays off the cabinets nicely. I keep the bag tucked behind the basket so I can fill it when I need to take it in, but since we typically use our shred file for fire starter and filler in the fire pit that’s not very often.   This change was also approved by Luna, who loves her new hiding spot. 🙂

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I also stained the cord box so it blends in more with the flooring and is less noticeable. Now that everything is finished, I cleaned up the wires and will soon hide them in a channel that can be painted to match the wall so you’ll never even notice them.  Now that the printer is tucked away, my Silhouette sits in the middle of the desktop and both of us have plenty of room to work.

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I’m still finessing the accessories on the desktop and shelves, but it’s pretty much done. The top shelf is strictly for photography props (including some room for new items!) and we each took a third of the bottom shelf. The center third is home to models of the planes the hub’s dad flew when he was in the Navy.  On my side, my photography guides and smaller extra gear fit in two decorative storage boxes, which also hide the driveway monitor speaker. Next to that are my books and a basket for a few magazine style guides I keep.

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The hub’s side became home to his cookbooks that had previously lived in the pantry. I gave him a storage box and canister so he could also store all of the cords and miscellaneous gear he wanted to have handy. And that means the tub of “stuff” that has sat on the other side of the room since we moved in is now gone!

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I’m loving the industrial farmhouse look the whole project has and the storage it provides has created so much space in this room. Now it really functions as an office, craft room and studio with style. And that make me very, very happy!

This post linked to Tatertots and Jello’s Link Party Palooza, Knick of Time’s Vintage Inspiration Party and

TDC Before and After