Tag Archives: Around Mi Casa

DIY Pillows – Sew Easy!

5 Aug

I love throw pillows and the way they instantly change the look of a room. I just don’t love the price tag!


Ahhhh…looks so inviting to me. Hubby just wants to know where people will sit now with all these pillows.

I had tried making some envelope pillows with fabric glue after reading this post on one of my favorite DIY blogs.

Mine fell apart.

My mom suggested sewing some instead and I laughed. I had never even held a needle and thread in my hand before – ever. She then offered to give me a sewing tutorial.

Following my mom’s patient instruction, I conquered my fears and completed my first sewing project – DIY Pillows!

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My Top Favorite Thrifty Finds

22 Jul


There are treasures to be discovered at thrift stores, estate sales, and even some retailers. There’s also plenty of over-priced junk. I’ve purchased both.

Sometimes I leave empty-handed. Sometimes my hoarding tendencies kick in and I buy something I don’t need or want.

But sometimes, I find just the perfect thing for Around My Home, so I thought I’d share a few of my favorite finds with you in this post.

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How To Prune Roses to Promote More Flowering

15 Jul

I absolutely love roses. These Julia Child roses blooming in my garden are beautiful and smell delicious. I love walking outside when they are in full bloom because the entire yard is perfumed by their delightful scent. IMG_9458

Roses are not hard to care for, but they do have some specific growing requirements.

One of the most beneficial things you can do to promote flowering for your roses is knowing when and how to prune them.

knockout roses

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More Ways to Take The Sting Out of Mosquito Bites This Summer

9 Jul

Since posting the original version of this article, I’ve discovered two must-have tools for the mosquito-fighting arsenal Around My Home.

Mosquito Lantern

The first is the lantern you see on the left. It emits odorless butane to repel mosquitoes in an area of ~200 square feet and has the added feature of an actual light for night-time use.

I purchased several of these lanterns at The Home Depot and they are perfect for outdoor gatherings – one on each table and you have both function and decoration!

The second item is the Alba Lavender Sunscreen on the far right. I’ve tried other brands and scents, but this one really seems to repel mosquitoes effectively for me. I apply the emollient lotion to exposed areas of skin before venturing outside and am usually able to survive dusk without a bite.

The information contained in the original article is all still relevant, so I’ve pasted it in its entirety below.

Hopefully this quick post will give you some new ways to gain relief from mosquitoes this summer!

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New Life For This Old Vanity Bench

1 Jul

I recently completed transforming this antique vanity bench from this:


To this:


I loved this bench the instant I saw it. It cost me $8 at an estate sale. The wood structure of the bench was sound, but the cushion was n-a-s-t-y.


First, I removed the cushion with a screwdriver and thoroughly cleaned the wood structure of the bench with TSP. I decided to re-use the piece of plywood for the base of the cushion, which involved removing about five million staples.

Each morning for about a week, I spent ~30 minutes removing those pesky staples. That was not fun.

The fabric and stuffing from the old cushion was disgusting and smelly, so I didn’t re-use any of it.


Once cleaned and dried, I lightly sanded the piece using a 220 sanding sponge.

Sanding roughs up the top layer of finish and years of oil and dirt to prepare the surface for priming and painting. Continue reading

Budget Decorating: Re-purposing Old Books

15 Jun

During a recent trip to Restoration Hardware to buy paint for our kitchen makeover, I took a quick peek around and instantly fell in love with this look:


A closer inspection revealed a small stack of what appeared to be old paperback books sans covers and bound together in a neat little package with twine.

I was surprised to find a price tag – RH sells these bundles for $15 each! Are you kidding me?!


I loved the look but decided I could probably create it myself for close to free.

So I marched right home and instantly went to work.  Okay, it was really about two weeks later in the middle of the night when I couldn’t sleep and was looking for something to do and remembered the book idea.

I pulled out some books that I was getting ready to donate and reviewed my stack of recent thrift store book purchases, too.

I was completely delighted (insert happy squeal here) to discover some twine in my husband’s workshop. Yay, Honey for having twine!

I was able to quickly put this bundle together in just a few minutes:


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DIY Chalkboard for Back-to-School or Anytime!

29 Aug


This project offers near-instant gratification. It’s super quick and easy and involves very little hands-on project time.

First, choose a surface you’d like to transform into a chalkboard.  You can use wood, canvas, cardboard, ceramic, or even glass. Glass is not much of an option Around My Home, with a two-year old running around that we’ve affectionately named “Grabby Hands”.

I had planned on using a black, pre-primed artist’s canvas to create my first chalkboard. I still think that would turn out great.

For this project, however, I discovered that the frame I had purchased contained a perfect piece of particleboard backing, so that’s what I used instead.

This brand of chalkboard paint comes in a 4 oz. container. I purchased it at Hobby Lobby with a 40% off coupon. I’ve also seen chalkboard paint in quart-size containers at home improvement stores. I just didn’t want to buy that much for such a small project.

chalkboard paint pic

Chalkboard paint is water-based, so I used one of my nicer paintbrushes to apply the paint, knowing that I’d enjoy soap and water cleanup.

I followed the directions on the paint label exactly:

1. Apply two even coats of paint to a clean, dry surface: one coat vertically and one coat horizontally, waiting an hour in-between coats.

I noticed brush strokes when the paint was wet, but they disappeared once the paint had dried.

To keep my work surface from moving around, and to create perfectly clean edges, I used Frog Tape to attach it to a piece of cardboard. I then removed the tape immediately after painting my second coat.


2. Following the second coat, let the paint cure for 24 hours. 

With our hot, humid summer, I opted to let it cure for closer to 36 hours.

3. Once the paint finished curing, I “primed” the chalkboard by rubbing a piece of chalk lengthwise over the entire surface, and then wiping it off with a soft cloth.


Now my super-fun chalkboard is ready to use and looks terrific!


Project Cost Breakdown:

–Frame: $.01 (yes, 1 cent!)

–Chalkboard paint: $1.79 after 40% coupon (can be used for future projects)

–Paintbrush: already had

–Particle board: included in cost of frame above

–Chalk: $1.47

Total cost for this project: $3.27 (plus tax)

I liked my first chalkboard so much that I quickly made a second one:

I liked my first chalkboard so much that I made a second one. I purchased the decorative cutting board at a local thrift store. It had one of those blue and white ceramic plates embedded in it. I had planned on painting over the ceramic, but I couldn't bring myself to paint directly over someone else's artwork. So, I grabbed a manila folder from my office, and used that to produce a thin chalkboard. Then I applied it to the top of the ceramic plate with spray adhesive that allows for non-permanent adhesion. This particular chalkboard is up and out of the way and just for decoration, so I'm not as worried about its durability.

The mini cutting board pictured above was a local thrift store find. It has one of those blue and white ceramic plates embedded in it, which I forgot to photograph in my hastened excitement.

I had originally planned on painting over the ceramic, but once I had my brush in hand,  I just couldn’t bring myself to slather thick black paint over someone else’s artwork.

So, I grabbed a manila folder, cut it to size, and used that to produce my chalkboard instead. Once cured and primed, I applied it to the top of the ceramic plate with re-positionable spray adhesive. Since this chalkboard is out of the way and solely for decoration, I’m not concerned about its durability.

I’ve found myself looking at everyday items Around My Home, wondering if they’d make good chalkboards: picture frames, flower pots, and even old salsa jars (the lids or the glass or both!)

It’s such a fun and rewarding project that I plan to make some personalized gifts for birthdays, housewarming, and Christmas.

What do you have around your home that’s waiting to be re-purposed with a little chalkboard paint?