His and Hers Artwork

This weekend M & L absolutely dominated the getting-stuff-done arena.  For starters, the living room is beginning to come together.  But more importantly, we made a teensy change in the bathroom that has really pulled the whole room together:

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Our homemade his and hers artwork was done late Sunday afternoon.  We spent the rest of the weekend completing a ton of projects around the house, all of which we will show to you throughout the week.  To name a few, the kitchen has been partially organized, we installed an under-the-counter trash/recycling system, the half bath has a new toilet seat to replace the puffy/padded one, and the dining room light underwent some beautification.  Like I said, lots got accomplished.  But the one I’m most excited about is our new homemade art.

It all started back in Mike’s old apartment.  The kitchen was so blah that I framed 3 teal scrapbook pages as a back splash.  I totally meant to stick them on the beige wall, but never got around to it.  Instead, I just propped them up against the wall.  And voila, a quick pop of color.  They were super low maintenance since they never fell over, were easily wiped down if any drips or splashes got on them, and they were incredibly easy to remove if I ended up needing extra counter space.  I definitely recommend them for anyone nervous about doing anything to their rental’s kitchen.  You can see two of the three leaning against the wall in this old picture from this post.  I wish there was a bigger picture of the whole kitchen, but you get the idea.


As you can see, one of the three teal sheets has a vintage-looking chicken theme on it, similar to those on my favorite bowls, just barely visible in the background here (you can read more about the succulent plants on this post):

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Here are the weird chickens side-by-side:

Anyway, we carried these three frames pieces of scrapbook paper with us to the new house, but the teal didn’t really work with our crazy red backsplash.  Somehow they ended up in the bathroom, and sat around testing out counter space.  After I decided I didn’t fully appreciate them in this space, I just sort of tucked them away behind my makeup trunk.

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But on Sunday I was feeling positively inspired.  So I grabbed the two frames holding the plain teal paper (ignoring the one with the crazy chickens), some tape adhesive, gray paint strips, and a heart punch.  Since I had all of the materials on hand from previous projects, this craft session cost us $0.  I used the heart punch (purchased at Michael’s for around $10) to make a bunch of little hearts.  Mike grabbed some and immediately glued down a pile of hearts.  It took him all of two minutes.  Maybe he’s a creative genius, or maybe he just wanted to be done with craft time, since it’s not really his jam.  But either way, I think his looks absolutely adorable!

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Mine took a lot longer to do, only because I had no idea what I was going for.  I first tried a horizontal line of hearts, but I didn’t like it.  Then I tried some kind of gradient wavy thing.  Wasn’t really working.  What I needed was a different punch besides heart.  But I didn’t have one.  So I decided to cut the hearts in half and just sort of stumbled into this gradient design.

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Pinning down the exact order of the broken hearts and gluing them down took all of 3 minutes.  The reason I went with crafter’s tape was because it requires no dry time, so the pile of hearts and the lines of broken hearts were re-framed and ready to go within minutes.  I used 3M medium-sized velcro strips on all three frames.  The strips are perfect because they cause absolutely no damage to the wall or the frames, and when you move apartments/houses, the velcro side stuck to the frame can be re-used.  I also buy the medium strips so that I can cut them in quarters, which saves a ton of money.

This was a super simple project that only took about 15 minutes total, but makes the bathroom look much more complete!

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Now Presenting, the Bathroom!

(***ML Note: This week’s GIVEAWAY is still going on through Sunday, June 9th at 11:59 pm.  Enter here!)

In between my summer class (which just ended, hooray!!), panel painting, and dog wrangling, it has been a struggle to get the house unpacked.  Almost every room is in total shambles, but we have been slowly chipping away at the bathroom and kitchen, since those are undoubtedly the most important rooms in a home.

You’ll probably remember our outdated fish toilet seat from this post, and this post showcasing our too-long shower curtain.  Obviously we’ve got some bathroom-related issues.  But I’ve been too embarrassed until now to reveal how truly terrible the bathroom was when we moved in.  So here is a quick snapshot into the ugliness with which we started:


As you can see, there are some serious problems with those cabinets.  Not only do they have ridiculously huge and yellow knobs, but they are also at an almost 45-degree angle.  The fact that they are slanted is probably not something our landlords will let us fix, but we just HAD to do something about those yellow monstrosities.  So I switched them out for some plain silver-looking pulls I found at Target for $10.  At just $1 a knob, I loved them so much I purchased 4 packs total.  Enough knobs for the bathroom and the kitchen (more on that later…).

You might notice some chipping underneath the knobs – I can only assume that the cabinets hated the yellow pulls so much that they tried to self-destruct.  And that’s saying a lot, since the cabinets themselves are nothing short of an eyesore.  (Note from Laura: We’ve been given the go-ahead from the landlords to paint the cabinets.  But since the laminate fronts will make it difficult, we’re taking some time to research the quickest/cheapest/easiest way to accomplish the near-impossible feat of disguising the fake wood cabinets in the bathroom and kitchen.)

Our next task was to replace the beach-themed shower curtain that was too old and moldy to show on this G-rated blog…

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The shower curtain bar (I apologize for not thinking to take a picture…) was rusty, unstable, and too low.  So we unscrewed it from the tile, bought a tension rod, and installed it all the way up at the ceiling.  I added a $2.24 shower curtain liner, and in the interest of saving money, I used two gray basketweave curtain panels I had purchased about a year ago and used in my own apartment, before-Mike (should we refer to this time period as BM?).  Each panel was $24.99 from Target, so I was hesitant to let them go to waste.  The main problem was that there weren’t any holes in the top for the curtain hooks.  So I cut some holes in the top sort of willy-nilly, and just hung it up.

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This worked like a charm for the first few days.  And then the too-wide and too-heavy curtain panels started gaping, bunching, and just generally falling off the shower hooks. Uh oh.

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The shower curtain liner is doing the same thing, except that it is also just too short (and possibly not wide enough) for the bathtub.  So we’ve got some issues to fix up top.

Unfortunately, we’ve also got some issues to fix down below, since the curtains are a bit too long for the space.  I snapped this photo a little bit after my morning shower, which explains why the bathmat is wet:

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Turning our attention to the other half of the bathroom, the counter area was a blank slate.  So in my corner, I set down my makeup trunk (purchased at Antiques Marketplace in Putnam, Connecticut for $20), along with a condiment tri-bowl I found at Target for 50% off (making it about $8), and one of two natural/gray baskets I bought at Target for $7 each.

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That oblong basket held a few odds and ends until I found two apothecary jars for $1 each at Dollar Tree.  They’ll be perfect for holding q-tips and cotton balls (which we are currently almost out of):

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The only thing that this area was missing was a towel bar, so I hired Mike to install one that I purchased at Kmart as part of a complete $25 bathroom set (the towel bar for this bathroom, and the toilet paper holder and hand towel ring for the half-bath downstairs).  The kit came with a template for drilling holes, which I taped onto the wall.

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Unfortunately, we first drilled the wrong set of holes… But Mike fixed it.

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And then hung the bar (note the extra set of holes in the middle, which I will be spackling and painting over):

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At the moment, this is the only functioning towel bar near the shower, since the one in the shower snapped off the wall:

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Our new black towel bar is therefore doing double duty holding bath towels as well as the only hand towel we have been able to find (who knows which box the rest are still packed into!).

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I am frantically knitting a new light gray hand towel that I think will look perfect in that corner.  Here it is about half way finished:

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And conveniently, hanging a towel on the new bar covers up the ugly maple leaf tile on the wall.  There are a total of 5 of these suckers randomly stuck in with the yellow wall tiles.  I cannot imagine why they included these at all, except that they must have been last minute replacements for cracked yellow tiles.  I’m trying to come up with a creative way to cover up the rest.

You might also see the cute snake plant tucked under the towel bar.  I have one of these next to each sink.  Obviously because it adds some greenery to the bathroom, but also (and hopefully less obviously) because it covers up the built-in toothbrush holders.

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After testing out both the blue plastic and the white ceramic planters in the space, I’ve decided that I prefer the white pot, which I got at Ikea for $2.99.  So I will soon be swapping out the blue for a sleeker white one to match.  The single white pot currently in the bathroom is on Mike’s side, visible here:

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(Note from Laura: In this picture you can clearly see that one of the window panes now has a transparent film over it.  That is currently an unfinished project, and will be featured in a post later. Stay tuned!)

Next to the white ceramic plant pot is another natural/gray woven basket that holds our toothbrushes and toothpaste.  I keep a soap dispenser in front of it, but would eventually like to get a second so there can be one at each sink.

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Our huge mouthwash bottle neither fit in the basket nor looked appropriate sitting awkwardly next to it, so I poured the contents into 2 bottles that I’d purchased as part of a $9 three-bottle set at Ikea.

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I actually used a funnel (not pictured) to transplant the mouthwash into the clear and teal bottles.  And then I put one in front of each sink to remind us to swish and spit.

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Once the Crest mouthwash is used up, I’d love to switch to an all-natural alternative.  Does anyone have any brand they prefer?

But you’re all probably confused as to why we haven’t yet addressed the toilet seat debacle.  In truth, that was actually our FIRST bathroom update… But I thought I would save it for last since it is the part of the bathroom that makes me the happiest.  I cannot believe the transformation.  Who thought an aquarium-themed toilet seat was a good idea??  I much prefer this simple switch, which only set us back $5.74.  Look at the difference!

The gray trash can next to the toilet is actually a vintage magazine holder that I purchased at the Antique Show last year in Brimfield, Massachusetts.

So ultimately, the bathroom is begging for a lot more work.  Here is the master list:

  1. Paint the cabinets below the sink and above the toilet.
  2. Buy a longer/wider shower curtain liner.
  3. Replace the plastic half-circle shower curtain hooks with these metal hooks (which I already own… I just have to figure out where they’re packed.  Maybe they’re hiding with those missing hand towels?) that prevent the curtain from slipping off.
  4. Hem the bottom of the gray “shower” curtains to just graze the floor.
  5. Replace the broken towel bar in the shower.
  6. Finish knitting the gray hand towel.
  7. Finish the window transparency project, which started off naked like this (hi, Mike!):image (17)
  8. Something needs to be done with the back of the door, which is just a glued-up, hole-y, disgusto messimage (27)
  9. Something also needs to be done with this outdated, chipped light switch (we can’t find a tri-switch plate like this at any hardware stores, so we might just end up painting it): image (28)
  10. Switch out my blue plant pot for a ceramic white one to match Mike’s.
  11. I’m thinking of painting the dingy metal window trim to look more silvery shiny like the toilet paper holder or the sink:
  12. And speaking of the toilet paper holder, we need to replace the weird, fat white one with a silver one to match.
  13. Oh, and as I was typing this post, a bulb burnt out above the sink area.  I’d love to clean the plastic cover and possibly re-paint the silver exterior. image (33)

And despite the fact that there are still updates to be done, I present to you our newly revamped bathroom.  From blah to BAM!

Are any of you re-doing your bathrooms?  Whether it’s a small or a huge project, I’d love to see pictures and descriptions of what you’re currently tackling!  Why don’t you drop me an email at makeshiftliving@gmail.com?