DIY Framed Cork Board

Check out this amazing Ballard Designs inspired corkboard that cost just $5!
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I recently bought a heavy wooden frame with an interesting shape at an estate sale that I wanted to turn into a framed cork board.  Ballard Designs has some beautiful ones for sale, but one of a similar size to the frame I bought costs $100...I wanted mine to be cheaper than that!

Ballard Designs Corkboard

So here is what I did to make my DIY version using a $2 frame:


STEP 1:  

I started by taking the floral picture out of the frame.  It was decoupaged over a thin MDF board, which was  a perfect surface for attaching the cork.


I sanded the frame to roughen up the wood.  I also used my hammer to distress the wood a bit.....I wanted the frame to look a little worn.


Since I wanted a chippy paint look, I rubbed areas where I wanted the paint to come off with a little clear candle wax.  You need to add a little more wax than you think you need in order for the paint to chip off nicely.

STEP 4: 

I painted the frame with two coats of white chalk paint, letting it dry for about two hours in between.  The chalk paint leaves a beautiful textured finish to what you're painting.  If you don't want to invest in chalk paint, you can make it yourself with Plaster of Paris.  Click here for the DIY Chalk Paint Recipe and tips for the best painted finish.

Since making this project, I've also grown to love Fusion Mineral Paint for projects like this.


When the paint was dry, I used a medium grit sand paper on the edges where the wax had been rubbed.

To protect the wood, I used Paste Furniture Wax  applied with a wax brush  (or clean rag) to cover the frame.  It does an amazing job sealing wood painted with chalk paint and doesn't yellow over time like a varnish or polyurethane can.


Corkboard can be purchased in a roll online or in craft stores.  I laid the cork board out, coated my MDF board with Mod Podge, and then pressed it down onto the cork.


Using an x-acto knife, I cut the cork along the edge of the board.  Since the cork is thin, I added a second layer of cork in order to make it thick enough for pushpins to go into.


The cork board went back into the frame and the project was done.

What do you think?  I personally like it better than the Ballard Designs version because it has such a different shaped frame.  Plus the entire project cost only about $5.  Who can beat that?!?!


10 Ways to Decorate with Ladders

Right now I have a ladder in my bedroom displaying an old quilt.  I purchased it at a yard sale a few years ago for $10.  Both my mom (who had to come pick it up for me because it wouldn’t fit in my tiny Ford Focus) and the woman having the yard sale thought I was crazy for wanting such an odd, beat up piece but it has become one of my favorite decorating items.   Sometimes there are things that catch your eye but no one else’s and these normally become the pieces that everyone eventually wishes they had purchased instead of you.   This type of ladder would also look great in the bathroom displaying towels.

I also have an old step ladder that I bought at a flea market.  It was just plain, aged wood and I wanted to make it a little more special.  I rubbed all the edges and the metal hardware with clear candle wax.  Then, I painted it cream and sanded the areas that had been coated with the wax to distress it before staining the piece.

This kind of ladder can work perfectly as a side table or as a place to display small items.  

I see ladders being used in so many different ways.  My favorite looks use ladders that are old and worn.   Imperfection gives so much character to pieces like this.  

This picture from Pottery Barn a ladder displaying shoes.  I love the chipped, white, painted finish on the wood.  This  could be recreated with an old piece of architectural trim.

A ladder can be used hung on the wall to hold pictures and other small items.  It brings your attention to all of the smaller items that would typically be lost on a big wall.


In the kitchen, a ladder can be hung from the ceiling to be used as a unique pot rack. 


Lighting or lanterns can be hung from a ladder.  Wouldn’t this be nice outside over a dining area?


Adding wooden boards on the rungs of a ladder turns it into an interesting display shelf. 


In the garden, a folding ladder can be turned into a trellis giving flowers a place to grow.

And finally, sometimes a ladder can stand all on its own in a room and needs no other purpose than to just fill up a wall.


Essentials for Summer Entertaining 2013

As we are entering the summer season, I wanted to share with you some of the things I think are perfect for outdoor entertaining.   All of the pictures are linked to places where they can be purchased online if you'd like more information.

If you are a watermelon lover, you need to have the Kuhn Rikon Melon Knife to make the job of cutting through the hard melon rind a lot easier.  The knife has a very sharp blade that slices right through the melon. It also comes with a hard plastic blade cover that will protect not only the blade, but also your fingers when the knife is in a drawer.  I love the design of this knife, don't you?  (It also works well in the fall to cut thick skinned squash!)


Macaroni Salad for your Memorial Day Picnic

With Memorial Day on Monday, I decided to post a recipe you might enjoy making for your picnic.

One of the things I can remember my grandma always making for picnics was macaroni salad.  As is the case with most recipes passed through the family, there is not an actual written down recipe.  I’ve attempted to put together some ingredients for you, though.

Her salad is a little different than you buy in the store because it has mustard which gives it a spicier flavor and a light yellow color.  I also enjoy this salad more because I know that it is homemade and not filled with a bunch of preservatives.

How to Organize A Closet - Tips and Inspiration

Yesterday you saw how my closet went from a disaster to an organized space.  Today I thought I’d share some of my favorite closet organizing tips with you, as well as some photos to inspire your closet designs.

A Look Into My Closet - Day 3

After days of cleaning, sorting, purging, and organizing my closet is complete. 

In case you forgot, here is the before:

A Look Into My Closet - Day 2

Everything is out of my closet that I showed you yesterday.  Has anyone else found that the worst part of cleaning and organizing is really is that a BIGGER mess has to be made in order to clean up?  Something does not seem right about that.

A Look Into My Closet

One of my goals in living the best version of my life is getting organized again.  When I was younger, my mom and I would watch Martha Stewart and I became convinced that I could be just like her.  I’d be organized, crafty, live in a fabulously decorated house with a well-tended garden and be able to cook and bake wonderful tasting foods.  I even wanted my own P-Touch because Martha always seemed to be labeling things.

Living the Best Version of Your Life

United States

Can you imagine if we woke up each morning and actually lived the life we planned (or the life we created on Pinterest)?
  • We’d be baking cookies and throwing together fabulous homemade dinners.

  • Our homes would be clean and organized, and our gardens filled with beautiful blooming flowers.

  • Sundays would be about relaxing and spending time with family, rather than finishing up all the projects we didn’t get done during the week.

  • Our bodies would be fit and healthy and our wardrobes stylish and sophisticated.

  • Children (and adults) would be polite, creative, and helpful.

  • Our jobs would be enjoyable and rewarding instead of dreadful and boring.

  • We would be leading simple but content lives. 

This is just a small glimpse of what the best version of the lives we COULD BE living would look like. And this is what my blog is about…taking back our lives, our time, our homes, our dreams.

I want to live a life that is special and filled with the things I love. We all move so fast, trying to cram too much into our day. Between work, families, responsibilities and commitments, there isn't any time to sit on your front porch with a glass of iced tea and enjoy the setting sun. Each day of my life seems the same. Life should not be so much work….where and when do we get to enjoy what we've been given?

I have been living this way for far too long. I've allowed myself to fall into the trap of thinking that there isn't enough time in the day, money in my bank account, or opportunity to change things. I get slightly jealous when I come across someone who finds a way to add a special little touch to their life.

I’m hoping that writing this blog will encourage me to spend a little time each day making positive changes, as well as guiding those of you out there who are feeling the same way. Please join me on this journey of making our lives a little better, a little more special. Until next time…
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