tips and tutorials

DIY Tutorials

~ Follow this simple formula for hanging pictures at the correct height.

* turn your frame over and measure the height of the picture from the back. 

* divide this number by 2

* Still measuring from the back of the frame, find the distance between the top of the picture and the picture hanging hardware.  If you have a hanging wire, pull it taught.  You want the measurement based on how the wire will be when it is hung on the wall.

* Subtract that number from the number you got when you divided the frame height by 2.  ex. frame height is 24″ and 24″ divided by 2 is 12.  In this example, the distance from the top of the frame to the hardware is 6.5 inches.  12 – 6.5 = 5.5.  Add 60 to 5.5.  You would put your nail at 65.5 in this example.

* Measure up from the floor on your wall and mark that spot.

Install your hanging hardware.  Note that I placed the bottom of the hook on the pencil mark because that is where the wire will hang from.

Now your’e ready to hang your picture.  (That’s my daughter:  the artist of this picture.)

I found this formula online a few years ago, but I don’t remember the source.  I’ve had a lot of success with this formula.    I don’t use this rule when hanging something above a table or chair.  In that case, I wing it. 😉

~Driftwood Faux Finish

1) Scrub the pallet to get it as clean as possible.  I gave it an all over wash with dish liquid and warm water.  Then, I used a general purpose cleaner on the tough spots.

2) After the wood dries, paint the pallet with the base coat color.  (I did not use a primer because I wanted to see the wood grain.) This will be the darkest color in your color palette.  I used “Charcoal Sketch” by BHG.

3) While the paint was drying, I mixed some of my base color with “Antique White” by BHG to lighten it a little.  Once you’ve created your second color, add 1 part water to 2 parts paint to create a glaze.  I painted the glaze on with a paint brush and then used a paper towel to slightly rag it off.

4)  Next, you will use the lightest color, for me that was the “Antique White” by BHG, and dry brush it onto the pallet.  Make sure your brush is dry and that you dab off most of the paint onto a paper towel before painting.  You don’t want much paint on your brush.  I also recommend brushing very lightly.  You can always add more if you need to.

5)  Once the pallet is dry, it’s finished!  You can seal it if you choose.  I did not.

~Make your own chalkboard 

1) Buy a piece of masonite board from a craft store.  I purchased mine from Michael’s.  I chose the size based on the frame that I was going to use with my chalkboard.

2) Purchase some chalkboard paint.  You can buy it as a spray can or paint can.  It is sold as craft stores, home improvement stores and Walmart.  If you buy the paint can, you will also need a paint brush or small roller with a low nap.


3) Follow the directions on the paint for painting your masonite board.

4) Be sure to season your board by rubbing it with the side of your chalk.  Once you erase the chalk, your chalkboard is ready to use.


5) If you prefer, you can write with chalk paint pens found at craft stores.


~ Frame your own art

Need to frame the chalkboard you just made?  Here are the step by step directions.  

1) Use an open back frame you have around the house or purchase one.  


2) Lay the frame face down and place your art inside; also face down.

3) Attach framing clips around the artwork by tapping the sharp end into the frame.  The rest of the clip will hold the picture in place.  

4) Once your picture is secure in the frame, attach hanging hardware to the back of the frame.

5) If you use hanging wire, be sure that the top of the wire does not show above the frame when pulled up.

For visual instructions, take a look at this tutorial on you tube.


Home Dec

~ To find your style, take note of what gets your attention as you browse blogs and magazines or while your watching home dec/diy shows.  Ask youself what exactly caught your eye. Was it a color scheme, the feel of the space, a particular object?  The more you do this, the closer you are to discovering your individual style.  I’ve discovered that my style is a rustic style using a neutral color palette and incorporating natural elements.

~Can’t make a decision?  Bring home both items, and once you’ve made a decision, return the item that didn’t make the cut.

~Need a second opinion? When I need a fresh pair of eyes, but don’t have anyone around, I take pictures.  Once I download them onto my computer, the pictures offer a more true look at the scene. Using this trick has really helped guide me in decorating.


~The Container Store offers free online help tools.  You will need to provide your closet measurements and a list of contents needing to be organized.  Once you submit this information, you will receive a design plan via email or phone call, whichever you choose.  It’s a great way to get professional advice!

Organization takes time.  There really isn’t a ‘one basket fits all’ solution.  Over time, I’ve learned not to give up when my first attempt at organization doesn’t work.  Take some mental notes:  where is my family naturally inclined to put their shoes, keys, book bags, wallet, spare change…? You get the idea.  Then, take the “if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em” approach.   ie.  if you husband skips your pretty baskets and throws this keys, wallet, and change on the kitchen island/counter…put your pretty basket on the island/ counter.  If shoes aren’t making it back on the shoe racks in the closet, where are they going instead?  Once you pay attention to the habits of your family, it becomes much easier to design a functioning and organized space in any area of the home.  Click on the following pictures to see posts about organizing each space.


~Do you know how many sheet and towel sets to have on hand?  I have the answer for you.

~Did you know that you should vacuum a day per family member including pets?  So, I should be vacuuming 4 times a week since I have a family of three and a cat.  Oops!  Guess I’m a little behind.  😉

To clean the build-up inside your microwave, bring a bowl of water to a boil and then let it sit for a while.  This will loosen the dried food, etc.  Remove the bowl, and use a damp rag to wipe clean the microwave. For added freshness, you can a little splash of lemon to the water before you boil it.

~Use your computer to create laundry how-to cheat sheets, and hang them above the washing machine.  Now there are no more excuses to keep your family from helping.

4 thoughts on “tips and tutorials”

  1. I have never seen this formula before … have written it down and will try it next time.
    Thanks … Audrey Z.

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