Painting Stripes On Stairs

(NOTE: If you follow me on Instagram you know I’ve been sick for, like, ever. The coughs and snots have kept me down for a while but I’m feeling much better today and will be silenced no longer!)

UPDATE: Click HERE to visit Andrea from Faded Plains. She’s my inspiration for this whole redo.

Last time we talked I shared Phase 1 of my basement stair project. Guess what? It’s done! Before I get into the nitty-gritty details check out these AFTER pics.

Painting Stripes On Stairs | laughingabi.com

Painting Stripes On Stairs | laughingabi.com

Painting Stripes On Stairs | laughingabi.com

I’m so happy with how they turned out. Best of all my kids, who were the inspiration for this whole idea, love them.

So let’s rewind to this pic from my last post. I had ripped out all the dark carpet, pulled staples, filled holes, and painted.

Painting Stripes On Stairs | laughingabi.com

Next I needed to tape off my widest stripe. While this should have been a simple measure, mark, and tape system it turned into more of a cuss, swear, and cry process. The problem is my steps are not square. Or level. Or even the same width.

At all.

(When I say they’re different widths I’m talking about the ones at the bottom that are supposed to be the same. Not the ones up top that vary because of the wall and ceiling.)

I won’t bore you with the numerous mathematical fails or vodka-induced epiphanies I went through to figure things out. I’ll just say that in the end I used a series of cardboard templates.

Template #1: the distance from the wall to the starting edge of the stripe (approximately 4 inches).
Template #2: the distance from the starting edge of the stripe to the ending edge (approximately 26.25 inches).
Here’s how it looked all taped out.

Painting Stripes On Stairs | laughingabi.com

TIP FOR SUPER CLEAN TAPE EDGES: Paint a coat of your base color over the tape first.

Painting Stripes On Stairs | laughingabi.comThis seals the edge of the tape and any seeps that may sneak underneath are invisible because they match the base color. That being said if you have an especially rough or textured surface there may still be some bleeding. (That’s called foreshadowing my friends.) Also, I always use Frog Tape and make sure to burnish the edge with a credit card.

Finally, it was time to paint! Two coats of Benjamin Moore Revere Pewter and it was done time for more taping.

Painting Stripes On Stairs | laughingabi.com

The next set of stripes went much quicker since I had already established a set of straight lines. I made a couple more cardboard templates, because that’s what works for me, and got to work. Here it is ready for paint.

Painting Stripes On Stairs | laughingabi.com

After brushing on a coat of my base color, like before, I added my first coat of  this delicious teal from Valspar. It’s called Night Scape.

Painting Stripes On Stairs | laughingabi.com

After a second coat it was time for the big reveal. Remember earlier when I mentioned that rough or textured surfaces + tape = some seeping no matter what you do?

Painting Stripes On Stairs | laughingabi.com

Womp, womp, womp.

It was a little discouraging but easy to fix. I grabbed a small artist’s paint brush and hit each spot with the same stain-blocking primer I used here.

Painting Stripes On Stairs | laughingabi.comThen, after it dried, topped it with a coat of the Revere Pewter.

And then I was DONE!!!

Painting Stripes On Stairs | laughingabi.comCan you believe the difference? I still want to get a coat of poly on them for some extra protection but I’m researching exactly what kind to use. Any advice?

Here’s a couple more glamour shots for ya before I go.

Painting Stripes On Stairs | laughingabi.comPainting Stripes On Stairs | laughingabi.comI’m usually pretty noncommittal but I think I might love them.

Next is painting and re-installing the handrail. Then I’m getting rid of those yellow walls. Gah! Can’t wait!

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Basement Stairs Update: Phase 1

I kind of lost my mind last week and started ripping up the carpet on our basement stairs.

Basement Stairs Update: Phase 1 | laughingabi.com

Don’t get me wrong, it was dark and ugly and needed to go but the basement hasn’t been a priority for seven years. (We worked on it when we first moved in but ran out of steam and haven’t touched it since.)

Basement Stairs Update: Phase 1 | laughingabi.comAll that changed one day when I went to pick up Teen Queen from a friend’s house. Her family was having their basement finished and I couldn’t believe how excited my daughter was about it.

I mean we have a basement that’s already finished and she hardly ever goes down there.

Um, maybe because it’s dark and ugly? And dreary and uninviting? Ya think?

So while they were explaining, “the toilet will go here” and, “this is where we’ll watch TV” I was making my own plans. The next morning I started hacking away at our stairs before the school bus even pulled away from the corner.

Under that nasty carpet and padding was this. Not the greatest but it definitely could have been worse.

Basement Stairs Update: Phase 1 | laughingabi.com

Next I pulled out eleventy-million staples. Which left me with two-eleventy-million rusty staple holes.

Basement Stairs Update: Phase 1 | laughingabi.com

I filled them with wood filler, let them dry, and sanded them smooth.

Basement Stairs Update: Phase 1 | laughingabi.com

Then it was time to caulk all the seams. I’m always amazed how much difference caulking makes. It’s the difference between a bunch of painted wood planks and a seamless, finished piece. I’ve ranted about it HERE before so I’ll spare you the soapbox again.

Finally – time to prime and paint! I used this Zinsser Primer because I knew it would cover all the stains on the stair treads as well as the orange wood on the surrounding wall and pillar. (I actually used two coats on the orange wood.) As for paint, I chose Valspar Duramax Paint + Primer because I had it leftover from the back porch project and figured outdoor paint would be a good idea on the steps anyway.

A TIP for painting steps: paint every other step so you can still go up and down the stairs if you need to. It takes a little longer but you’ll thank me when you need clean underwear from the basement laundry room.

Here’s how it looked after the first set was done. Oh and the orange wood too. So glad to see that go!

Basement Stairs Update: Phase 1 | laughingabi.com

And the second set. Excuse the terrible lighting. It’s a basement.

Basement Stairs Update: Phase 1 | laughingabi.com

And with that Phase 1 is done! There’s still a lot to do though – trim to cover all those gaps on the right, the railing needs to be painted and reinstalled, and those yellow walls have to go. But before any of that happens I have more painting to do – something fun. Because a Pinterest addict like me couldn’t possibly stop with plain white stairs.

Five Days of Fall: Upcycled Scarf Organizer

Welcome to Day Five of “Five Days of Fall”. Instead of my usual one post this week I’m writing five, each with a different fall-themed idea. Nothing fancy, just some simple, inexpensive ways I cozy things up around here when the leaves start to turn.

In my house Fall marks the end of shaving season and the start of scarf season. So I thought it would be the perfect time to share my Upcycled Scarf Organizer.

upcycled scarf organizer

I made it out of these two unexpected items.

scarf storage before collage text

The idea came when I was shopping for a scarf and realized the retail display rack was the perfect storage solution. It was nothing but a series of “pegs” and plastic rings but it held tons of scarves in a small space. So I set out to recreate it in my closet.

The plastic rings were easy to find. The clearance tag was a bonus.

upcycled scarf organizer

The pegs were more of a challenge. I considered building something or using a pegboard and straight hooks like this. But then I found an unused wine glass rack stashed in the basement! (Similar to this one.) Who says hoarding is a bad thing?

Put those two seemingly random pieces together and you’ve got storage for 24 scarves in a 2 foot wide space.

upcycled scarf organizer

upcycled scarf organizer

upcycled scarf organizer

Oh and in case you’re not sure how to loop the scarves onto the rings (I wasn’t at first), here ya go.

upcycled scarf organizer

upcycled scarf organizer

upcycled scarf organizer

upcycled scarf organizer

upcycled scarf organizer

I’ve been using this hanging rack for a couple years and it still works great. Don’t you just love it when the simplest solution is the best one?

Catch up on days one through four here:
Day One: Fall-Inspired Bookshelf
Day Two: Fall-Themed Chalkboard
Day Three: Pumpkin Flavored Bagel Schmear & Apple Dip
Day Four: Autumn Entry On A Budget

Five Days of Fall: Autumn Entry on a Budget

Welcome to Day Four of “Five Days of Fall”. Instead of my usual one post this week I’m writing five, each with a different fall-themed idea. Nothing fancy, just some simple, inexpensive ways I cozy things up around here when the leaves start to turn.

Today I’m sharing my itty, bitty, teeny, tiny Autumn Entry. The only thing smaller than this space is my budget for decorating it so I had to get creative.

Five Days of Fall: Autumn Entry on a Budget | laughingabi.com

In the end I only spent $2.50 for that little white pumpkin. Everything else I found around the house. (Are you noticing a theme in my decorating style? Maybe I should rename the blog “usingthecrapihave.com”)

Five Days of Fall: Autumn Entry on a Budget | laughingabi.com

For example, that orange and white chevron? That’s actually a scarf I pillaged from my closet. And the driftwood branch? It used to be in our lizard tank. Oh and my favorite part is the photo. We took it when Baby Girl was in kindergarten and we were making an alphabet book together – A is for acorn. I love seeing her pudgy little fingers and remembering how much fun we had walking the neighborhood searching for things that started with the letter A.

Five Days of Fall: Autumn Entry on a Budget | laughingabi.com

The pedestal is actually a thrift shop wine glass and platter that I glued together. It floats from room to room depending on what random thing I decide to use it for. I topped it with a few fake leaves for more color, added my splurge of a pumpkin, and called it done.

Five Days of Fall: Autumn Entry on a Budget | laughingabi.com

Five Days of Fall: Autumn Entry on a Budget | laughingabi.com

Five Days of Fall: Autumn Entry on a Budget | laughingabi.com

Simple but sweet. And cheap. Can’t ask for more than that.

Catch up on days one through three here:
Day One: Fall-Inspired Bookshelf
Day Two: Fall-Themed Chalkboard
Day Three: Pumpkin Flavored Bagel Schmear & Apple Dip

Pumpkin Flavored Bagel Schmear & Apple Dip

Welcome to Day Three of “Five Days of Fall”. Instead of my usual one post this week I’m writing five, each with a different fall-themed idea. Nothing fancy, just some simple, inexpensive ways I cozy things up around here when the leaves start to turn.

Today I’m jumping on the pumpkin-flavored bandwagon with a recipe that does double duty as a bagel schmear and an apple dip. (Note: I did not create this recipe. It’s from a 2004 edition of Cooking Light magazine.)

Pumpkin Flavored Bagel Schmear & Apple Dip |laughingabi.com

This is one of the easiest things you’ll make this season. If you can use an electric mixer you can do this.

Pumpkin Flavored Bagel Schmear & Apple Dip

  • 6 ounces lo-fat cream cheese, softened to room temperature
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup canned pumpkin
  • 2 teaspoons maple syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  1. Mix cream cheese, brown sugar, and pumpkin with electric mixer until well blended.
  2. Add maple syrup and cinnamon. Beat until smooth.
  3. Chill for 30 minutes and serve.

Pumpkin Flavored Bagel Schmear & Apple Dip |laughingabi.com

Pumpkin Flavored Bagel Schmear & Apple Dip |laughingabi.com

You have to try this one. I promise it’s the perfect balance of sweet and creamy and fall flavors. Mmmmmm. I hope you love it as much as we do.

If you missed Day One and Two you can find them here.
Day One: Fall-Inspired Bookshelf
Day Two: Fall-Themed Chalkboard

Five Days of Fall: Fall-Themed Chalkboard

Welcome to Day Two of “Five Days of Fall”. Instead of my usual one post this week I’m writing five, each with a different fall-themed idea. Nothing fancy, just some simple, inexpensive ways I cozy things up around here when the leaves start to turn. Today we’re talking chalkboards.

Five Days of Fall: Fall-Themed Chalkboard | laughingabi.com

If you’ve been here for a while you probably recognize this chalkboard that hangs right inside my front door. Last October it looked like this.

Five Days of Fall: Fall-Themed Chalkboard | laughingabi.com

But this year I wanted to go with a Fall theme, something I could leave up through Thanksgiving. I was searching for inspiration one day and spotted this on Instagram.

Five Days of Fall: Fall-Themed Chalkboard | laughingabi.com

Super fun and super simple. Perfect for us.

After experimenting with different fonts and sizes I came up with a layout I liked then used this method to transfer it to the chalkboard.

NEW TIP! Did you know you can sharpen chalk with a pencil sharpener? True story. Find one of those cheap little sharpeners with two holes (you’ll use the oversized one) and give it a try. You won’t believe how much easier it is to draw with.

Five Days of Fall: Fall-Themed Chalkboard | laughingabi.com

I added some freehand swirlys and leaves to fill things in and it was done.

Five Days of Fall: Fall-Themed Chalkboard | laughingabi.com

Five Days of Fall: Fall-Themed Chalkboard | laughingabi.com

I’m really happy with how it turned out and I love the playful message. I almost changed it to “get off the computer, put down the phone, and go jump in the fling-flanging leaves” but it wouldn’t fit.

(My apologies to those of you who were expecting something pumpkin flavored today. I had it all ready but then my photos turned out kind of suckish so I’m going to try again. I promise it’s coming soon.)

If you missed Day One you can find it here.
Day One: Fall-Inspired Bookshelf

Five Days of Fall: Fall Inspired Bookshelf

Welcome to Five Days of Fall! Instead of my usual one post this week I’m writing five, each with a different fall-themed idea. Nothing fancy, just some simple, inexpensive ways I cozy things up around here when the leaves start to turn. Today I’m kicking it off by giving my plain-Jane bookshelf a seasonal facelift.

Five Days of Fall: Fall Inspired Bookshelf | laughingabi.com

Before I tell you what I did, check out this before pic. Not terrible but definitely not Fall either.

Five Days of Fall: Fall Inspired Bookshelf | laughingabi.com

First I emptied everything out and lined the back of the shelves with some wrapping paper I’ve had stashed in the basement for years. Yep, that’s paper. It’s from the Container Store but like I said, I’ve had it for years. I don’t know if they sell it anymore but you could pick any paper that says “Fall” to you. I like this one because it adds instant texture.

Five Days of Fall: Fall Inspired Bookshelf | laughingabi.com

Then it was time to fill it back up. I started with the biggest piece, a wooden bowl filled with mini pumpkins. (I’m toying with the idea of painting their stems gold but I’m not sure yet.)

Next I added the books. A simple tip for decorating with books: choose ones that match the color scheme you’re working with. You can see I picked mostly orange, yellow, red and black. It adds seasonal color without spending any money.

Five Days of Fall: Fall Inspired Bookshelf | laughingabi.com

All that’s left are a few finishing touches. A dried hydrangea from the yard in a short mason jar and decorative bookend. (You’ll see later the bookend changes because I found something I liked better.)

Five Days of Fall: Fall Inspired Bookshelf | laughingabi.com

And probably my favorite part of the whole makeover, an owl rock Baby Girl painted for me as a Mother’s Day gift years ago. Still melts my heart.

Five Days of Fall: Fall Inspired Bookshelf | laughingabi.com

Those few simple changes are all it took to cozy up this corner. I have to point out that the only thing I spent money on were the pumpkins. Everything else was from somewhere in the house or the yard. I love those kinds of projects.

Here are a couple more shots. Can you spot the different bookend I mentioned earlier?

Five Days of Fall: Fall Inspired Bookshelf | laughingabi.com

Five Days of Fall: Fall Inspired Bookshelf | laughingabi.com

Five Days of Fall: Fall Inspired Bookshelf | laughingabi.com

Make sure you stop in tomorrow for Day 2. It’s going to be pumpkin-flavored! See you then.

My Fall Mantle 2014

I didn’t think I would ever get in the groove but Fall decorating is finally happening at our house!

The name of the game this year is simple and cheap (a recurring theme around here) and the most obvious place to start was the new fireplace.

My Fall Mantle 2014 | laughingabi.com

I’m proud to report I only spent $6 on this year’s mantle. Everything you see except the cornstalks was in my prop closet (aka the basement bedroom I took over for storing all my pretties). And if I were a patient woman I could have gotten the corn for free from a local farmer but obviously I’m not. Ain’t nobody got time for that.

So first let’s talk about my inspiration. Check out this perfectly simple Pallet Wall Art from Allison over at The Golden Sycamore.

My Fall Mantle 2014 | laughingabi.com

I fell in love with it the minute I pinned it and knew I wanted to recreate the same clean, modern-rustic feel for my mantle. I already had the DIY wood backdrop so it was time to start layering some Fall on top of it.

Hanging wall vases and corn stalks. (The vases were a gift from my cousin but the labels say Home Interiors if you’re looking for a set.)

My Fall Mantle 2014 | laughingabi.com

A wreath that’s survived years and years of use and a yellow garland for one more pop of color against the dark wood.

My Fall Mantle 2014 | laughingabi.com

And letters printed and cut out of cream colored scrapbooking paper.

My Fall Mantle 2014 | laughingabi.com

That’s it. Super simple. Super cheap. My kind of project.

My Fall Mantle 2014 | laughingabi.com

My Fall Mantle 2014 | laughingabi.com

My Fall Mantle 2014 | laughingabi.com

My Fall Mantle 2014 | laughingabi.com

Are you decorating for Fall? I feel like I’m the last one to start but the good news is I’m really on a roll now. I have a new Fall chalkboard and an updated bookshelf to share next week. And maybe some window boxes too. Until then I’m raising my Pumpkin Spice Latte to you  – cheers!

Fall And Halloween Idea Galleries

Creative blogger confession: I’m not feeling it people.

Halloween is just over a month away. Pumpkin Spice Lattes are steaming on every corner. And the trees in my yard are turning shades of red and yellow. But I cannot seem to get into the Fall decorating groove.

Normally I would go on a Pinterest binge, searching for inspiration. But instead I decided to take a look back at my own blog and check out some of the decorating ideas I’ve shared in the past. Here’s what I discovered: my holiday posts are an unorganized mess! How can I expect you lovelies to see my ideas if you can’t find them?

Fortunately the solution was easy. I created a Halloween and a Fall/Thanksgiving idea gallery! Hover over any thumbnail image to see the title and click on it to read the original post. I also created a “PROJECT GALLERY” link in the menu bar at the top of the page so you can get there without having to find this post again.

HALLOWEEN

Previous

THANKSGVING/FALL

Previous

Some of the oldest ideas are still my favorites like this witch toasting her favorite holiday with a martini . . .

Fall And Halloween Idea Galleries | laughingabi.com. . . and this wicked Halloween chalkboard.

Fall And Halloween Idea Galleries | laughingabi.com

I’m including this screen shot so there will be an image of the gallery if you’re trying to add it to your Pinterest board.

Fall And Halloween Idea Galleries | laughingabi.com

Oh, I also set up a Christmas/Holiday gallery so when you find yourself humming Jingle Bells you can go check that out.

I hope this makes it easier to find inspiration when you need it. Take a look and let me know what you think. I always love hearing from you guys.

Mid Century Modern Thrift Store Score

I was all prepared to share a Roadside Redo today – a hanging light fixture on the back porch – but then I walked into the thrift store, innocently looking for a picture frame, and this happened.

Mid Century Modern Thrift Store Score |laughingabi.com

OMG CAN YOU EVEN STAND IT?! $70!!!

Those of you who aren’t fans of Mid-Century Modern or Danish design might be saying, “big whoop.” But I guarantee the MCM lovers out there who scour Craigslist and eBay for beauties like this are dying.

Mid Century Modern Thrift Store Score |laughingabi.com

Confession: I almost didn’t buy it. Not because I didn’t love it but because in some circles I could be classified as a chair hoarder. Seriously, I’ve got one stuffed in every corner of the house and even a few out in the garage. It’s kind of a problem.

So I told myself to walk away.

But I couldn’t. I just couldn’t. Truth is I sat in the store, in the chair (no one else could buy it if my butt was planted in it, right?) for an hour and a half silently arguing with myself. I reached out to every person I could think of via Instagram or FaceBook or Hometalk hoping someone would tell me it was worth a mazillion dollars because hoarding valuable items makes you a collector, right?

Mid Century Modern Thrift Store Score |laughingabi.com

I never did get any concrete figures but in the end it didn’t matter. Eventually I just surrendered to my wild, aching chair desires and brought him home. And later that night when I gently sat him down next to the fireplace it was sooooo good.

Mid Century Modern Thrift Store Score |laughingabi.com

The next day it was time for some leather TLC. Overall everything was in good condition but there were a few spots that looked like they needed conditioning. My go-to product for leather is called Blackrock Leather ‘N’ Rich. I buy it at our local feed store with the horse and tack supplies. If you don’t have a feed store down the road a spell like we do you can get it here.

It was no surprise that the arms were in the worst shape since they get so much wear and tear. Here’s a peek at how well this stuff works.

Mid Century Modern Thrift Store Score |laughingabi.comAnd here’s another shot of the inside of the same arm. It’s harder to see the dryness and scratches but if you look closely you’ll notice a big splotch right above the seat cushion. Looks like maybe somebody spilled something. It’s totally gone in the after pic!

Mid Century Modern Thrift Store Score |laughingabi.com

I still want to treat the wood but I don’t have a go-to product for that yet. I would love to hear any suggestions you guys have. I’m considering the same DIY mixture I used here.

For now though, let’s gaze at some more photos of my new love, shall we?

Mid Century Modern Thrift Store Score |laughingabi.com

Mid Century Modern Thrift Store Score |laughingabi.com

Mid Century Modern Thrift Store Score |laughingabi.com

Mid Century Modern Thrift Store Score |laughingabi.com

Mid Century Modern Thrift Store Score |laughingabi.com
Mid Century Modern Thrift Store Score |laughingabi.com

Sigh. I just love him.

Love. Him.

Before I go here’s a quick look at the new vignette that happened when I started shuffling furniture around.

Mid Century Modern Thrift Store Score |laughingabi.com

Nothing fancy but it holds some of my favorite things so it makes me happy when I see it. Doesn’t get much better than that. (The portrait is our first fur baby, painted by my mother-in-law and the children’s book is my new favorite entitled The Day The Crayons Quit. You should check it out.)

So that’s the story of my new love chair. What’s your most recent thrift store score? Something small and functional? Or black, leather, and comfortable?