Diary of a Dream House – Part 3: Determining a Budget

Determine a Budget

How do you determine the budget when you are building an entire home from scratch? Well, here are some tips to get you started. Let’s Start with What NOT to do. The excitement of building a home of your dreams is something I wish everyone could experience.  The thought of knowing you can create it…

Make a Corner Cupboard for Additional Storage

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Turn an empty corner into useful storage and display space with an easy to make corner cupboard. Shari and I have decorated numerous bathrooms, and all of them share one common problem – not enough storage.  Typically, the only places to store items are the medicine cabinet and under the vanity, neither of which were…

Dress Up a Plain Fireplace by Adding a Mantel

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Most fireplaces have mantels, but if yours doesn’t, never fear, with a few tools and a few boards, you can have that mantel you’re dreaming about! A roaring fire can help tame the fiercest winter weather, but not all fireplaces are created equally in a decorating sense. Without a mantel,a fireplace seems somehow incomplete nonetheless, many…

Create This Cottage Style Picket Fence Headboard

Picket Fence Headboard

Whether it’s cottage style, or simply a garden theme, this picket fence headboard will be a lovely focal point in any bedroom. Garden romance is so appropriate for a cottage-style bedroom, but this one works beautifully in a young girl’s room too.  Combine it with a picket fence painted around the room, add a floral bedspread…

How to Paint a Faux Tile Backsplash

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Tile can be expensive, but paint is easily affordable and using it you can create a fantastic backsplash that most will think is really tile!  Nothing can give your kitchen cabinets more pizzazz than a beautiful tile backsplash.  It adds color, depth and a totally customized look.  However, ceramic and glass tiles can be expensive and quite…

A Mirrored Hallway Bench is a Great Shop Project

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Get your shop in shape ’cause this is a big project, but a mirrored hallway bench would cost an arm and a leg if you bought it – build it yourself and pocket the bucks!  A tall mirrored bench with a shelf underneath makes a great place to sit and remove boots or shoes and to hang…

Learn How to Judge Flea Market Finds

Fine Fabrics from Flea Markets - MattandShari.com

You’ve heard one man’s trash is another man’s treasure?  Well garbage day can prove that if you get out early and scour the streets for the most amazing things people will throw away! Is trash day just another day around your house? Well, to me it’s like having Christmas delivered right to your curb. Yes,…

How to Live Large – Even in a Small Space

Live Large in a Small Space

Today I think we have more respect for those who can put together a functional and happy home on a much smaller footprint. Matt and I have had a relationship with Hunter Douglas shades and blinds for a very long time. They were always there for us while we taped room by room and we…

Hand Painted Flowers Look Like Wallpaper

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I know it looks tedious but this painted floral design was done in layers and the finished product will amaze you!  One of the keys to successful decorating is flexibility.  Matt would agree whole heartedly, especially since he’s the one who can frequently be found climbing ladders, moving furniture, and hanging light fixtures.  While physical…

Make a Wall Mounted Upholstered Headboard

Wall Mounted Headboard

This is a great headboard to make for any bedroom.  It takes just a little wood working skill and the use of a staple gun, batting and fabric.  Mix in about 3 hours of your time and you’re done! The headboard is two units (counting the 6 top layer panels).  The back headboard is covered with…

Learn to Make a Marble Look Table Top

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Knowing how to paint a marble look can come in handy for table tops, floor cloths, columns – who knows what else? We asked our friend Elizabeth Cohen to teach us some interesting painting techniques that can not only be used on furniture but can also be used on your walls. The following intructions are…

Learn to Make a Granite Tile Table Top

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A granite tile look can be wonderful on a small side table that you want to stand out as an accent piece and here’s how to paint it! We asked our friend Elizabeth Cohen to teach us some interesting painting techniques that can not only be used on furniture but can also be used on your…

Learn to Make a Custom Stencil Table Top

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If you enjoy painting and being creative, you might like to make your own stenciled table top with a design that inspires you! We asked our friend Elizabeth Cohen to teach us some interesting painting techniques that can not only be used on furniture but can also be used on your walls. The following intructions are…

Recycle Christmas Cards into Puzzles

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Instead of throwing away those beautiful winter scenes and holiday photos from your Chritmas cards, cut them up and turn them into fun puzzles to entertain both kids and adults! We all enjoy getting Christmas cards, but they are not without problems.  Should you display all your holiday greetings, or just keep them all in…

Easy to Make Brown Bag Holiday Album

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That’s right! Use up those brown lunch bags and make yourself a great album for your holiday memories.  As much fun to make as it is to look through! We all know scrap booking has been a popular hobby.  Supplies are available almost everywhere and the array is amazing.  There are papers, stickers, embellishments, die…

Use Coin Envelopes to Make Christmas Albums

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This Christmas album is a nice project for older children that need a little direction during holiday break.  It takes some time and attention, but I think they will enjoy filling it up with photos of their friends and family.  It might even be a project that they could attempt to make as a gift…

How to Fight Rising Heating Costs

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With fall approaching, the leaves drop to the ground and the temperature begins to plummet, but your heating bills move in the opposite direction. ‘Tis the season of high heating costs! According to early reports, heat and oil prices will continue to rise, which can cut a large chunk out of your home heating budget…

Inexpensive Styrofoam Window Cornice

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Looking for an inexpensive and easy window treatment idea?  Well, a cornice out of styrofoam fits the bill. Another great treatment for any window is a cornice.  This is an upholstered stiff board that covers the top portion of the window often placed over a blind or draperies.  A cornice can stand alone as well…

Beat School Lunch Rising Costs with These Tips

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Having lunch at school is very convenient but there are days when the cost of lunch makes me think my son needs to start packing his lunch! Here are some tips to stretch your lunch dollars.  Lunch this year at our school costs $5.00.  I decided that although there will be days when buying is preferred,…

Decorating an Apartment When You Can’t Paint

Apartment Decorating Ideas

There are so many rules when you live in an apartment it can be difficult to experss your personality without the help of paint or wallpaper, but fabric can help! Decorating an apartment is possible despite popular belief.  I know that more often than not, you aren’t allowed to do any painting. Often times, putting holes…

Popsicle Sticks Make a Nice Star of David Garland

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Sometimes it takes the simplest of materials to create something very nice, and this Star of David garland is a good example of that. I think it is wonderful that the end of the year is full of celebration.  With celebrations come decorations and with decorations come hand- made projects! Hand- made projects allow more than…

Host a Recycling Party and Discover Treasures

Host a Recycling Party

 You’ve heard that one man’s trash is another’s treasure, well the same goes for recycling, and having a party brings out all the best stuff! There is something really rewarding about fixing something old up to look new again or just finding a new way to use something that may have been tossed out by…

Make One Dinner – Get Three Meals – Save Time and Money

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Learn how to save time and money by making one large meal and turning it into three different meals for the week. One of the toughest never ending jobs for any parent, aside from laundry, is making dinner!  At least that’s how I feel around my house.  And, if there is anything I can do…

Make Recycled Cereal Box Book Holders

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Kid’s really enjoy crafting and what better way to spend some time with them than to craft and recycle at the same time!  Well this great kid’s book holder will give you the opportunity to do both. Aside from teaching recycling, you have the opportunity to discuss how to care for books and good ways…

Make Your Own Homemade Cleaning Supplies

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When I look back at growing up with my two older brothers, it amazes me that my mom was able to keep up with the cleaning. The amount of cleaning supplies must have been enormous because those two were down right messy, I however was as neat as a pin (hold on while I slap…

Inexpensive and Easy to Build Platform Bed

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All it takes is a few pieces of particle board and some pine boards and you too can have a very sturdy new bed.  Add a mattress and bedding and you’r done…the headboard is extra! This platform bed project is a long time favorite of Shari’s and mine.  We were working with a young couple…

The Many Amazing Uses of a Baker’s Rack

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A baker’s rack is one of those pieces that will fit in any room in your home, and who doesn’t need versatility like that? I guess everyone doesn’t need a baker’s rack, but if you have a kitchen with a little extra wall space, or a porch, entry or dining room — heck, even a…

Red, White and Blue Headboard Adds Drama

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Even though a flag headboard seems like it is perfect for the patriotic summer holidays, it can also just be an intersting focal point in a geat looking bedroom! One of our favorite holidays is the Fourth of July not only because it’s the birthday of our nation, but it’s a special day to spend with…

Craft These Nautical Flag Coasters and Placemats

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Summer is the perfect time to grab your crafting tools, set up a workspace outside, and create accessories for your home. During the summer months I am always looking for projects to keep my kids busy.  Here’s a great project that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg, it’s pretty easy, and in the end you…

How to Decorate Step 2: Budget

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Don’t dive into decorating projects until you take the time to set budgets or you could get caught spending too much or worse, not getting the job completed! Budget, it’s a pretty scary word when you are talking about a decorating project.  We’ve all heard the horror stories about the projects that ran way over budget, the kitchen that cost…

Save Big by Insulating Your Home

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We are all trying to figure out how to cut cost when it comes to our energy use. One of the things that’s actually good about today’s economic turmoil is how it’s forcing all of us to conserve and economize in ways we never thought about before. I know I’m scrutinizing my budget more carefully…

Save Money and Make Your Own Christmas Stockings

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Beautiful Christmas stockings can be expensive, but they are very easy to make if you have a littel time, some fabric and trimmings! Yes, there are a lot of stockings there to fill.  No, I don’t fill all of them.  I have two children who love to have their stockings filled by Santa, and the…

Use Ribbon to Make Pretty Pinecone Ornaments

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Use up leftover ribbon or grab several spools of gorgeous Christmas ribbon and create one of a kind ornaments for your tree this year. This ornament is one of my favorites to make.  It has a very classy appearance when finished and doesn’t look home made.  It would be a lovely hostess gift if you’re…

7 Ways to Reuse Last Year’s Christmas Cards

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Last year’s greeting cards can be recycled into holiday artwork, gift tags and more to save you money this year! My Grandmother was a professional recycler, and I’ll bet many of yours were too!  They lived through the Great Depression and they knew how to stretch a dollar.  Or maybe I should say a dime in those…

Create Easy Mini Cornucopia Place Cards

Miniature Cornucopia Place Cards - MattandShari.com

Place cards are a great idea for special dinners with lots of people because it saves the confusion of who site where – one less thing to think about!  Although I only have about 6 people for dinner on Thanksgiving, this year I’m up to 8! My husband’s parents are going to be able to…

Turkey Roll Ups are Perfect for Leftovers

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These little turkey roll ups will ensure the leftovers don’t stay in the refigerator too long,, in fact you might make them throughout the year once you see how tasty they really are! In my house there is always leftover turkey on Thanksgiving. Not for the reason you are thinking….I make a delicious turkey. Mainly…