Thursday, June 23, 2011

Just tidying up!

One of my favorite aspects of fixing up a space is it's ability to continue to change and become better!  There are always things that can be improved or re-organized!  In my room there have certainly been items that I still had on my to-do list to improve or beautify.  Three of those projects I was able to accomplish last week when I suddenly found myself with some motivation!

After my lovely DIY Dry Erase Board was born I continued on that path and was able to take my scarves off the wall where they were looking rather cluttered... here they are before.
And using an odd hanger I had in my closet (I do believe it's for ties, eh, waste not, want not) I hung them on that...
And then in my closet!  

There's such a greater sense of calm on that wall!  I have since decided to have a wardrobe purge session in the future.  I will keep you updated.  I've added that to my To-Do List among other things, so feel free to check it out!

But onwards shall we?

After removing my scarves I had a nice hanging device that I decided would help me out best on the back of my door.  I quickly took the nails out of it's original spot on the wall and started hammering them into the door which is when I noticed this...
 The nail was longer than the door.  Probably not a good idea so I quickly switched the nail for a shorter one and was left with this!
 Hooray!  Somewhere to hang my purse at the end of the day instead of putting in on the floor!  Go team!  Next I decided to tackle my ridiculous perfume collection.  I brought them off the shelves...
 Then I transfered them to one of my storage cubes which had some space since I switched out some things.  Now they are still easily available but out of sight (and my mind is at ease that the shelf won't collapse due to the weight).
 Instead I put some lightweight photo frames and a souvenir of my year in Europe!
 The last project of the day was still drying in the basement.  Remember the pink striped shelf from my "Before" pictures?  Well, now it's just white!
Doesn't it look nice above my dry erase board?  It might be a little too much white for some people but I am decorating with the intention of melding things together once I move out down the road.  Now, if I could just do something about that purple mirror...?

Anyone else having random bursts of motivation?  Aren't they fun?  

Thanks for reading!


Saturday, June 18, 2011

DIY Dry Erase Board!

Thanks to Pinterest (you can read my rave blog about that here) I found a great idea for a DIY Dry Erase Board!  Here's a picture of the one I found!  You can see it on pinterest by clicking on it!
It's just a piece of scrapbook paper behind glass that you can write on!  So simple, so cheap and such a great idea!  

So I set out to create my own! 

I decided to use fabric instead of paper since my mom has some great patterns.  Here's the 3 I decided to choose from.  I ended up with the one on the right.

 Next my project ADD took over and I realized that I could put fabric in a small frame gallery I have on my wall.  So here's the fabric I choose for that!
 I've really been into natural colors lately, hence the green and yellow and since my room has no specific color theme they work!

After my mini project I returned to my frame.  I first ironed the fabric (which didn't work out all that well but I'm not a perfectionist and might actually replace it with paper later anyway).  Then I taped it to the mat in the frame.
 Once that was on I taped a piece of thick paper onto the back of the fabric to make sure the brown backing didn't show through.
 Here are my two projects side by side!  Cute huh?  Everything looks better behind glass!
 I think I would have preferred a tealish color to match my bedspread for the small frame, but this works for now.
 I went with a yellow for the dry erase board since it'll be easy to read with any color.  I was leaning towards a teal or purple color (to match my purple pillows and organizer boxes) but thought it might be hard to read green or red on those colors.
 Here's the board on the wall.  Notice I did something with my scarves?  I'll get to that later!
I think it looks much better than the board I had before.  You can see that in the before / after pictures!  It was a simple project that took no time and really changed the look of that wall.  I'll get into more detail about that wall later since there are other things I changed!  Can you see what else is different?  What are some projects you've done that have taken little time but made a big difference?  I'd love to hear about them!

Have a great weekend and thanks for stopping by!


Thursday, June 16, 2011

First Featured Post!!!

Today is a historic moment in the brief history of Countdown2Done!

Today I was featured on one of my favorite blogs, Twenty-Six-To-Life!  Kate has been a huge inspiration for this blog because she gave me the idea to start a blog which incorporated life goals in a to-do list style (which we all can say, I love).  Please show her some love by checking out her blog since she has made my day (actually all week I've been pumped about the feature).  I've added a button in my menu bar you can click on to see the feature she wrote or since I LOVE it so much, you can just click below!

She featured my before / after post however, if you have checked out my before / after section in my link buttons above you may have noticed there are some progress pictures!  I'll post them below as well for you to see some things I've been working on!

I'll post in more detail about the changes later but until then enjoy some eye candy for now (please tell me I'm not the only one who thinks interior photos are eye candy?)!


Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Pinterest ?!

Thump Thump.... Thump Thump... Thump Thump...

That is the sound words of my heart beating due to a new-found love, Pinterest.  This website love interest is absolutely the greatest thing to hit the internet since well, the internet itself!!!

Ok. So I might be exaggerating a little bit, but not really because anyone who has a pinterest account (did I mention it's free!!)  will tell you that it has been life changing (no I am not a spokesperson, nor do I get paid to sing it's praises, I just love it).

Oh, so by this point you must be wondering what it is, yes? Here's what it says on the website:

Pinterest lets you organize and share all the beautiful things you find on the web. People use pinboards to plan their weddings, decorate their homes, and organize their favorite recipes.
Best of all, you can browse pinboards created by other people. Browsing pinboards is a fun way to discover new things and get inspiration from people who share your interests.

 You can find my pinterest by clicking on the pinterest button in the menu sidebar!  If you like pinterest feel free to request an invitation by using my e-mail address ( I have boards about many of my favorite things, DIY, home inspiration, my future wedding (not engaged, but one can still dream), photography, fashion, basically anything I'm interested in!  The best part is that you can see where someone found a photo to get directions to make, bake or create what's in the picture!

You can pin things to your boards from other people's boards or from the internet.  It's a great way to save things you'd like to do, wear or visit in one spot instead of mentally.  It's great for anyone who likes inspiration; teachers, artists, gift givers, bloggers, ect!

Here's what some of my pinboards look like, if you'd like to see more just click on it!

Hopefully this was a bit informative and you weren't just pummeled by my enthusiasm!

Happy Pinning!


Monday, June 13, 2011

Otto - Woman

Many people might find this strange but for some reason I was seriously craving an ottoman (or Otto-woman) storage bench in my room.  Anyone else have one of these in their rooms?  I had a corner by my dresser that was awkwardly spaced between my desk and shelving stand that I thought would be the perfect place for a nice faux leather ottoman.  I was almost going for a mini mudroom look but in a corner.  Wait.  That does sound pretty ridiculous but just go with me on this.  Here is the corner Before:
 I knew that I wanted to get the ottoman for that corner but used the plastic drawers to hold some clothes until 1. I Decided on something else, 2. The ottoman went on sale or 3.  I moved out!  Well, number 2 came first and as soon as I saw that the ottoman had gone from $80 to $65 at Target I jumped on it (the sale, not the ottoman, although there was definitely some he-man (or woman) action going on at the store getting it off the shelf).  So here she is all decorated and lovely!
 Yes, my shelving stand does intersect it there which is quite annoying but it's certainly a step up from the plastic drawers and it holds all my t-shirts, and some bags and blankets!  The best part is that I will be able to use this in my next place (perhaps not in the bedroom, although I've seen many an ottoman at the foot of beds).  Here's a different angle.
 See?  It doesn't look that bad... and it's cute beneath the shelf although some long handmade canvas art might look good above it too... hmm..  Here's the lovely Before / After picture for you to check out!  (Don't forget to click on Before / Afters in the menu bar to see more pictures!)
What do you think?  Anyone else have interesting ways of storing things?  What about a mini mudroom in a bedroom?  I'm just going to say that's the first you've heard of that...?  Hope you all had a marvelous weekend!

Thanks for stoping by!


Thursday, June 9, 2011

Necklace Solution - For now...

Another Jewelry category which I love / hate are necklaces.  Oh how they drain my bank account yet can glam up so many basic outfits (I admit I'm a fan of all things jeans plus T-shirts).  Yet, when it comes to organizing and storing them one can only have so many necklace hangers or in my case, tacks in a wall...

Oh yes, holes a plenty.  So I decided to use something I already had on hand to display my necklaces in a functional and attractive way, similar to how I organized my earrings.  I grabbed the old bulletin board from my room to see how I could use it!  After 2 coats of white paint on the frame and some hot glue to hold the board which was falling off onto the frame it was looking pretty good.  Then all I did was add the tacks that had previously been on my wall to the board and hang it on the wall.  Then I hung my necklaces in a somewhat organized fashion from longest to shortest then my really long ones on the side.  I went from having 20 holes to 2 in the wall which made my pretty happy!
I still want to do something about my stud ribbon since it doesn't really go with anything in the room or help out the necklace board in any way.  There are also so many earrings on it that I haven't worn since I bought them in middle school from Claire's.  I suppose jewelry is one of those things you hate to get rid of in case you happen to have an occasion to wear those horrible bumble bee studs your aunt gave you 10 years ago.  So, that is certainly on my to-do list; get rid of unused earrings.  Does anyone have any good ideas for storing them or how you get rid of the ones you don't want?  What about your to do lists? Anything that is only halfway there?

Thanks for stopping by!


Monday, June 6, 2011

20,000 Calorie Challenge!

Today I am beginning a 20,000 Calorie Challenge!  My YMCA started this challenge at the beginning of April but I've decided to do it on my own since it's way to late to join and since I think it'll be more fun to do it on the inter web via... my blog!  I'll post the calories I burn over in my side bar!  Also, if you'd like to try it out you should!!  Let me know and I'll link you up over on the side!

Anyway, basically I'll be tracking days that I go to the gym and burn some calories.  I'm sure there will be days when it was only 10 minutes on the elliptical or days when I ran, and biked, and swam (well maybe not)!  My goal is to complete the 20,000 calories (burned... this has nothing to do with eating, gosh... there would be a fail) by August 15, 70 days from now.  That's 285 a day but some days I burn more.  Somedays none at all, but hopefully I'll try to do a little something here and there that will add up to big calorie burns!

Today I did the strange elliptical machine that I don't know the name of and burned 170 calories, kick boxed for an hour to burn 700 calories and walked for 15 minutes for approximately 30 calories for a grand total of 900 calories!  So far so good, just have to keep it up!

Good luck on your own fitness challenges!  Anyone else do better by making goals and self challenges?  I'd love to hear about them!


Sunday, June 5, 2011

Pink Velvet Cupcakes

I might be the slowest baker in the history of unofficial self-proclaimed bakers.  Seriously, the combination of baking, cooking dinner, not knowing where things are in the kitchen and my mild (self-deemed) ADD creates a 2.5 hour long bake fest (the legal kind).

I found a recipe for Red Velvet cupcakes off of Yahoo back in the winter when I was living in Switzerland.  Since I wasn't sure I'd be able to find some of the right ingredients I decided to wait until I was home to try it out!  Usually I make cupcakes from a box but since Europeans do things from scratch much more (since there aren't really 3 different boxed cupcake brands) I was able to learn how to create cupcakes without the use of the pre-made boxed stuff.  So, with my new desire to make things from scratch I finally got the motivation to make Red Velvet Cupcakes.

I followed the directions pretty easily (minus a sifter, le sigh) but then I came to the 2 tablespoons of Red food coloring.  Well... whoops I only had about 1 teaspoon of the stuff but since it doesn't affect the taste I just decided I'd call them pink velvet cupcakes and let's be honest, pink is way better than red anyway.

 So there are my hot pink cupcakes... nom.
After I finally got them into the oven I took a short break to eat dinner with the family and wash some dishes.  Then I got to work on the cream cheese icing!  I'm pretty sure that I mixed it up a little to much because it was a bit runny, although still delicious.
Here's the directions for anyone else who secretly wants to start their own bakery and have a show on TLC...

Red Velvet Cupcakes
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour - 1 1/2 cups sugar - 1 teaspoon baking soda - 1 teaspoon salt - 1 teaspoon cocoa powder - 1 1/2 cups vegetable oil - 1 cup buttermilk, room temperature - 2 large eggs, room temperature - 2 tablespoons red food coloring - 1 teaspoon white distilled vinegar - 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 (12-cup) muffin pans with cupcake papers. 
  • In a medium mixing bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder. 
  • In a large bowl gently beat together the oil, buttermilk, eggs, food coloring, vinegar, and vanilla with a handheld electric mixer. 
  • Add the sifted dry ingredients to the wet and mix until smooth and thoroughly combined.
  • Divide the batter evenly among the cupcake tins about 2/3 filled. 
  • Bake in oven for about 20 to 22 minutes, turning the pans once, half way through. Test the cupcakes with a toothpick for doneness. Remove from oven and cool completely before frosting.  Makes 24 cupcakes.
Cream Cheese Frosting
1 pound cream cheese, softened - 2 sticks butter, softened - 1 teaspoon vanilla extract - 4 cups sifted confectioners' sugar - Chopped pecans and fresh raspberries or strawberries, for garnish
  • In a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese, butter and vanilla together until smooth.
  • Add the sugar and on low speed, beat until incorporated. Increase the speed to high and mix until very light and fluffy.
  • Garnish with chopped pecans, fresh raspberry or strawberry, or sprinkles.



Saturday, June 4, 2011

Air Vent Covers and Radiator Grates

Jewelry is something that has always been a pain to organize.  If you take it on a trip it gets tangled up, if you put it in a box you have to dig through it, if you can't find a pair you have to wear the same ones all the time, if you give a mouse a cookie... you see what I mean?

So I thought it was time for me to figure out some way to organize my dangly earrings in a way that was easy to make and attractive.  While I was abroad I spent much time perusing other blogs for inspiration  and found this lovely idea HERE.  I knew that I wanted to make something like that for my earrings because of how easy and aesthetically pleasing it is (Hey! That rhymes!).

So in my first week home I went shopping for radiator grates which I described to the guys at Home Depot as air vent covers.  This lead me to the (surprise)... air vent covers and I looked at them trying to think if that is how it was made on the website because it didn't look possible with even decorative air vent covers.

That is how I got into an intense conversation about how "I'm not an artist per se but more of a DIY kind of gal" with the Home Depot employees.  Eventually we all agreed the vents would not work and I went off to look for what else it could be.

I was strolling down the aisles trying not to get distracted and then spotted (by accident of course) some large sheets of metal with designs on them which were perfect for my project!  I quickly grabbed one and ran back to the guys who had been helping us figure out the best way to hang earrings off an air vent to see if they cut metal in the store or if I had to buy the whole sheet and cut it at home.  They directed me to the wood cutting department and so I excitedly hopped over there with my 3 x 5 feet of radiator cover.

Once I reached the area I had to wait for the attendant to ask my rather bizarre question.  So as he arrived I kindly asked him if they cut metal by chance or if I'll have to buy the whole sheet.  At this point he gave me what could have been his life story before ending with "We sell things you can buy to cut the metal but I'm not going to do it for you".  So after spending far longer than expected at Home Depot I paid for my huge sheet of metal and went home.  (If you happen to get an earring holder for a gift it's because I have so much of the stuff left over)

I had already purchased a frame from Walmart that was 11 x 13 with a white mat that made the frame 8 x 10.  I then wrote on the metal with a sharpie where I needed to cut.  Once that was done I asked my dad if he could cut it for me.  Then all that was left to do was tape it to the mat and hang it on the wall!
 As you can see I have too many earrings.  Perhaps this project will inspire me to purge some of the ones that I don't wear...
 But I could wear them all... one day.
Isn't this adorable, and so useful!  It's wonderful to have all my options right where I can see them.  I do wear earrings more often now that I can see what I have!  This project was a bit on the expensive side but only because I had to purchase the whole sheet of metal.  However, now I have a great gift idea that would only cost me the price of the frame!  Here's a budget breakdown for you if you're interested in doing a similar project!

Budget Breakdown
Metal Sheet - $25 
Frame - $12

Total: $37

Have a great weekend everyone and thanks for reading!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Room Before / After

I would first like to pose a forewarning before you read this post: This is my first blog of this type and I didn't think about having matching Before / After angles in my photos.  You'll have to forgive my first unfortunate attempt and trust that any further before / after photos will give you the same angles for both pictures so that you can have a clearer idea of what the situation was / is about.

So, on that note.

When I first came home from Switzerland I was greeted first by my parents at the airport (yay!) and second by my old room looking somewhat like this:

 Please take note of the necklaces tacked to the wall, the box of clothes on the floor, that quilt plus the other quilt, plus the red blanket, the cluttered closet, the shelves full of DVD's, books, who knows what, ect. All that compounds of the stuff you can't see in these pictures, the dust and the carpet... oh me oh my, horrendous.
 These pictures were taken literally a few days after I returned as you can tell from the luggage still unpacked in the hallway.  Most of this wreck was probably from me but also from my family using my room as a semi storage room for my sister's unwanted things.  (Sorry Jennie, but come on... it's true).  I wish I had taken a window shot but if you can visualize it the window is on the left wall in the picture above.  Behind me in the picture below.
 Before I left I was feeling a sincere desire to improve my piano skills and so I moved the piano from the basement to my room which there was just no room for.  Needless to say, it is now back in the basement.  My first thought was to just live with the mess while I saved up some money to redo it.  No need to rush, except after about what felt like weeks but in reality was probably only a few days I decided I needed to do something about the room situation.  I wanted to redo it in a way that would be functional, organized and a little chic (I did just return from Europe) but at the same time I didn't want to spend much money since this isn't a permanent living situation.  I set my budget for $200 and here's what I was able to accomplish!
 I really like this angle to the room.  I moved my bed to this wall and although I would prefer to have a nightstand and to not have my bed touching a wall on the side, there just isn't enough room for it in this space.  It does annoy me that the desk isn't centered under the window but I really enjoy being able to look out it (at the chickens) when I'm at my computer.  I also moved my printer out of the room (since I have to get it fixed anyway).  I invested in 2 fabric lined baskets for my shelf tower which have made such a difference!  Just go back and look at it in the before pictures!  I added white curtains and a silver rood that's tiny enough for my low ceilings.  I also made a necklace organizer which I'll blog about in more detail later.
 Here's another view.  Isn't that light teal quilted comforter much better than the quilt that was on the bed before?  It's actually a duvet that my sister had in college and wasn't using so I put it on my bed.  It goes really well with pillows I also had leftover from my college days.  If you're observant you might have also noticed that I'm 1.  using a piano bench as a desk chair and 2.  The lamp shade is different.  I was really into purple in high school and college (and still like it) but the previous shade was just too dusty and teeny bopper that I had to pick up a new one from Target.
 Here's an angle that you will see again soon because I've altered it further.  You'll have to wait for that though.  In this picture I've painted a new shelf that we had in the basement a fresh coat of white.  I do honestly hope that it stays on the wall due to the amount of weight that it's holding currently.  Side-note: Does anyone have any suggestions on perfume storage?  I am a bit of a perfumeaholic and have so many but like to switch it up a lot.  Any ideas or things that have worked for you?
 Here's another view of this wall.  You can see my new earring holder that I've made and will go into more detail soon.  I also have a HUGE collection of scarves that really needs to be dealt with.  Does anyway have any ideas?  Do you hang your scarves like this or put them in a drawer?
Here's what I did with the wall that the piano used to be on.  I originally wanted to buy an expedit shelving from Ikea (which you can see HERE) but when I was at Target I found this guy for half the price of the Ikea shelf.  I'm still not quite sure if I should have waited until I was going to Ikea to just suck it up and spend more money or go with this one which I'm pretty satisfied with anyway.  Have you ever paid less for something that you wanted the more expensive version?  I'm definitely guilty of doing that many times but more often it's with clothing.  On this wall, I still want to make my own dry erase board, put a shelf up, take down or repaint that mirror (although, there are some gems hot glued on there that won't budge) and do something about the scarf situation.  It's still a work in progress but I'm much happier with it like this than before.
Here's a picture of the one wall that I've placed the beginnings of a frame gallery.  Eventually I'd like to have more frames and put them closer together as well as get rid of the dry erase calendar.  I like how my European art looks all together with some of my photography and quotes!  If you'd like to see more of the pictures above in a Before / After format just click on Before / Afters under my banner at the top of the page.

Has anyone else wanted to redo a space they couldn't spend a lot of money on?  What about tips for perfume or scarf storage?  I feel like they're both just taking over the space.

Thanks for reading!