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Wednesday, June 11, 2014

At Home with the Dollar Tree

Since I know I didn't reply to every one of you for your comments and well wishes about the house, I want to extend a sincere THANK YOU. It was nice to be able to share the news and read your thoughts on the process and it did quite a bit to make me feel better. -MK

At the moment I am undecided if I'll even post this entry so I'm just going to write it the way I really want to. There are so many little details I want to share with someone, even if they seem silly or mundane.

We've been here just over a month and I've been extremely busy with all things house related so there hadn't been much idle time for my polish hobby. I did buy a few drugstore polishes and thought about mixing them up with some of the Solar Color Dust pigments I'd purchased in February(?) but the supplies were already packed so that idea was rejected. Instead I spent the entire month of April packing the apartment while waiting impatiently for the closing on April 30th. The month of May had been spent just enjoying the house and settling in.

We moved the same weekend we closed and like most people do, I found that I was moving out of the apartment with far more stuff than I moved in with and wondered how we had it all in the place. The high point was that my two sons, going on 15 and 17, were a great help and worked together to unload the truck themselves the second day, truly impressing to us. The low point would have been transporting my 4 cats to the new house the night before and having to leave them here alone; I think I suffered as much separation anxiety as they did. I swear I am not the crazy cat lady, not yet anyway, all 4 were strays and I think 4 is my limit- that's more than enough kitty litter that ends up on the floor.

I am excited enough about finally having a house that I had the majority of the boxes unpacked and put away within a day and few key decor items distributed around the house. Momentarily it's rather plain but also pleasant because having lived in a crowded, cluttered apartment for 8 years, I find myself extremely reluctant to display all my decorative items. Most have been relegated to my basement "studio" but more about that later. I've got a thousand decorating ideas flying through my head and thought I'd share a few here, things I've done with supplies I owned already and a few more purchased from the Dollar Tree. Bear in mind I am not a professional decorator or Martha Stewart but I know what I like and what works for me. Yes, this entry probably should be posted somewhere else but I have only the one blog.

I love my kitchen with it's oak colored cabinets, carved wood trim, granite counter tops and stone-look (I say "stone look" because I have no idea what it is) back splashes accented with diamonds of the same granite but the knobs were plain old black and I wanted to add something to it all. Years ago, I caught a segment of a decorating show and I remember the host saying that you can change the look of your kitchen just by changing the hardware on your cabinets and I thought that was a fine idea. Rather than going out and buying different hardware, I utilized things I already owned, in this case nail polish, glitter and pigments.

The granite in the counters is black with silvery white flecks with hints of red so that's what I decided to play off of. I made a very simple mixture of a now-discontinued .008" Sterling Silver glitter I bought from Coastal Scents several years ago, TKB Trading's Siren Red pigment and clear polish, testing it a few times on one of the knobs until I figured out less glitter and more pigment looked better. It took me about an hour to paint them all and the end result I thought was nicely understated and went well with the counters.

My basement is finished (meaning completely painted, tiled floor and entirely functional) and I have turned that space into my "studio"/decor-display area. While it's nice having a place to stash all of my craft supplies (I had no idea I had that much stuff until I saw it lined up against the wall), I still don't have a table or desk to work at so I starting thinking about what I could improvise with and minimize further spending. What I came up with, utilizing the polish drawers I own that already take up space, was to make a work table out of a hollow-core interior door, $20 at Home Depot. I don't actually have the door yet so I can't show you pictures but with the addition of a chair (I don't have one of those either),  I can see it being a fairly spacious area to work in if I arranged things right.

In my former apartment, jewelry was stored in different places around the house because the drawers of my free standing jewelry box were filled with other junk while my earring collection was deferred to the half bath where it occupied two walls (earrings falling off into the litter box was a definite hazard). Here in my house, I was able to create a central location for all my jewelry in the corner of my bedroom.

Since the jewelry box itself was offset in the corner, I had to anchor the mirror ($1.00 from Dollar Tree) that way as well. I tried velcro first but it didn't make enough contact with the walls to hold so I used a hot glue gun to glue pieces of ribbon to the sides and pinned it there with tacks, holes but minimal and small. The cherry blossom wall stickers I also got from the Dollar Tree, colored with paint markers (they were silver) and added as the first accent around the mirror. The other flowers on the ends of the branches I cut from a wallpaper sample, if I decide to include them when I take pictures. Up close it somehow irritates me but from a little farther away its a nice effect.

To keep the earrings organized and all together, I had to make new hangers and find a way to put them on the wall without making holes. The original version was made with rubbery shelf liner (Dollar Tree, $1.00) sandwiched between a cardboard frame with Elmers Glue and was then nailed to the wall all the way around for support, not pretty but functional. For the second version, I used foam board from Dollar Tree, cutting out the center so the frame is one solid piece and sandwiched the gripper stuff between the two with a combination of Elmers Glue and hot glue at key points. To hang them without making any holes, I used velcro strips (purchased from Walmart, maybe the only thing in the store made in the U.S.A.) all around the frames and stuck them on the wall that way.

I may never own a crystal chandelier but I enjoyed looking at them when we were at Home Depot recently and while Hubby shot me down on buying one (I'm still enjoying giving him a hard time about it) and I left without the chandelier, I also left with a few ideas to make one, or at least the effect of one. Fortunately for me, my bedroom came with a brass and glass light fixture in the ceiling that is also partially magnetic so I used magnets, metal Christmas ornament hooks and several cheap "Grad" necklaces from, you guessed it, the Dollar Tree, to create one.

Along with the grad necklaces, I've also picked up quite a few green and blues, also Dollar Tree merchandise. I've found uses for them as well- the blue and green grace my kitchen light fixture.

The kitchen "chandelier" is the second version, this time with a combination of velcro around the base of the fixture and aluminum jumprings instead of magnets. It's not sparkly like a traditional chandelier but its interesting and also pulled some more blues and greens into the room.

Those same blue beads helped decorate my formerly silver and white lamp in the living room, along with some rhinestones and blue and clear beads that came off Christmas ornaments I bought from Dollar Tree a couple years ago.

My final contribution for the day and to this entry was the hoop I made to suspend some ornaments from, based on the same idea as a chime (I own many as examples, all lined up by the sliding doors). This way I could hang multiple things from the ceiling from one hook and avoid having to make individual holes. I made this with craft wire from the Dollar Tree as the base wrapped with electrical tape, wrapped again with cloth ribbon and sealed with Mod Podge for rigidness and two more strands of craft wire wound around in opposite directions for more support. Fishing line was used to suspend it from the hook and to hang the ornaments from it. I should have also said that the hoop is rather large so it was easier for me to make something than look for something to buy that was pre-made.

 That was fun for me, I hope you got some entertainment value out of it too. Thanks for reading!

Also, since I know I didn't reply to every one of you for your comments and well wishes about the house, I want to extend a sincere THANK YOU. It was nice to be able to share the news and read your thoughts on the process and it did quite a bit to make me feel better. -MK



  1. You are so crafty and smart!! I really like the "chandeliers"!

    1. Thank you! I'm not sure about the smart part but I think I hit upon a good idea with the chandeliers.

  2. Well, you've inspired me! The earrings organizer and chandeliers, wow, great ideas!

  3. Your chandeliers are brilliant!!!!!!!!

    1. Yeah, i felt a little smart until my velcro fell lol. That's what I get for touching the sticky too much.


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