DIY Docking Station

Mwah ha ha…..Happy Halloween!!!!
{Image courtesy VintageHolidayCrafts.com}

I'm pretty sure Mother Nature is a witch, don't you think???  Now that Hurricane Sandy is behind us, I hope if you were in Sandy's path that you stayed safe from her winds and rain. We were saddened to see so many get flooded out and incur terrible damage to their homes.  The Boston area didn't get hit that badly by comparison.  We finally have power fully restored and school is back in session today, just in time for Halloween!

Speaking of Halloween….it's  downright scary how easy this DIY docking station is to make!  (oh, that was lame, even for me!)

With two parents and three kids with electronic devices, I can't even begin to describe to you how our house has been overrun by chargers and cords.  This year,  I decided to crack down on texting availability after realizing that it is virtually impossible for my 12 and 14 year olds to not look at an incoming text, no matter what they are in the middle of.  At the beginning of the school year I started a new rule requiring them to leave their electronics in the kitchen during homework and overnight.

The area that we charged our phones at was this little counter next to the fridge that has four outlets.  I sometimes use this space as a bar when we entertain, but day to day it holds our absolutely-hideous-but-essential toaster oven.  The "real life" photo below does not do justice to the amount of mail, school papers and junk that the toaster oven counter attracts over the course of the week (however it does represent those sa-weet bologna countertops nicely! My bologna has a first name….lets all sing together)

The rest of my kitchen is usually fairly tidy, but then ----> there is the giant mountain of embarrassment over there.  To use the toaster oven one would have to move all the junk over to another counter, where it would all live until the toaster oven cooled enough to place the junk pile back on top of it and let it grow a few more inches.

Add all of our cell phones, ipods and chargers to the mix and it was just complete chaos.  Finally, after living with that little area for the last year or so, I finally gave some thought to where in my house I could charge electronics.  I desperately needed an area that would be easier to keep organized,  a place where the electronics could charge under my eagle eye and the kids wouldn't be tempted to check their texts every 5 minutes.  I'm on a mission to make my house work for me.

Cue this empty wooden box on the etagere in my dining room.
First I thought of using my cigar box for this project, but it was just too small to hold all the electronics in this crazy house.  This wine box, however, is nice and deep.

I've had this wooden wine box for so long I can't even remember where it came from, but I don't think the wine, or this box it came in, is very valuable.  I just like the fonts and design on the box.
So I got a mouse to chew a hole in it*….
…and now it can charge up to 5 devices with the power strip that hides in there.
 *okay, so a mouse didn't chew a hole for me, but I discovered the hole attachment for the drill was too big for the box, so I just used my biggest drill bit until I had a hole big enough for the plug of the power strip to feed through.  It's not pretty but the hole is completely hidden from view unless the box is open.  I also bundled the charger cords so they wouldn't be all tangled inside the box.

The box sits on the side table in our dining room.  {More on how I'm making our dining room the hardest-working room in the house in the near future.}

This "docking station" is working out great for us!  The kids (and my husband) are less likely to look at their phones 50,000 times an evening because the devices are not on their person, plus the cords are hidden from view, and I like the look of the box itself - it's a bit rustic and unique in our dining room.

This would be an easy project to replicate with any wooden box with a hinged lid (unfinished boxes can be found at Michaels or AC Moore).  The power strip was key for all our devices, but if you only have one or two devices to charge you could feed the charger cords out of the back of the box to a wall outlet.  You could also create a platform for the electronics to sit on, but this simple version works for me!

Now my wine box has form AND function.  Do you have any interesting boxes around your house could you repurpose?

Wishing you a happy Halloween filled with cute little ghosts and goblins and fairies and bumblebees…..and maybe a mini Snickers bar or two…..or three!
{Image courtesy VintageHolidayCrafts.com}


Mangia Mondays:: October Features

Happy Halloween {and Hurricane} Week!

It's Mangia Mondays over here - the blog hop I co-host with the fabulous Kristin of Delightfully Dowling, with her sweet sidekick Charli in tow (talk about delicious!!!)

I hope all my fellow East Coasters are staying safe as Hurricane Sandy hurtles up the eastern seaboard. We spent the weekend in a frenzy, finishing up our deck and getting rid of the debris, storing the outside furniture, and cleaning out our garage so we could put our cars in there.  The oncoming hurricane turned out to be a great motivator to get some projects done!

It's crazy to think that exactly one year ago the Northeast was hit by a huge October snowstorm that caused tons of damage and power outages for days.  The kids are thrilled to have the day off today and are eagerly anticipating losing power again so they can miss more school.  Gotta love their enthusiasm for the hurricane!  Their only concern is, of course, what will happen with trick or treating.

Oh yeah, Halloween - didn't you just sneak right up on us!?!!

I'll tell you, all you Mangia Mondays chefs do NOT disappoint when it comes to the holidays…..take a peek at these fun and easy recipes that will bring a little Halloween spirit to your home, howling hurricane or not!

Zombie Eyeballs from High Heels and Grills

Monster Munch by Melissa's Cuisine.

Mrs. Happy Homemaker's Reeces Witch Brooms

What's Cooking, Love's Chocolate Candy Corn Pretzel Bark

Annnnnd…..the most creative award this year goes to…
Tracey of The Kitchen Is My Playground with her Gingerbread Vampires!
Too cute!!

Check out October's Mangia Mondays blog hops for lots of great seasonal recipes with pumpkin, apples and tons of comfort foods!  THANK YOU to everyone who links up each week to share and inspire with your great recipes and ideas!

If you are linking up to MM please remember to link back IN YOUR POST to either Delightfully Dowling or Shine Your Light, or post a Mangia Mondays button - this would be greatly appreciated.

Happy Halloween to all, and to my East Coast friends, wishing you safety through the storm.


Front Door Beauties

Project Curb Appeal is slowly getting accomplished.  While we opted to have our deck repaired rather than replaced, there turned out to be so much rot that in the end we are wondering if it would have been easier and less expensive to knock the whole thing down and start over!  

But….I've been staining it all week and once again, I just can't believe the power of paint and a little elbow grease! (I am not exaggerating when I tell you I'm about 11 hours into the staining process and have another day ahead of me!  This girl needs a SERIOUS manicure.)

Now that the deck is almost done, and I've knocked out a couple other exterior projects I'll share with you next week, it's time to turn our attention to the front door.  

As I mentioned a couple weeks ago, we have big plans to redo our front steps and add a portico in the future, but the whole front door unit needs replacing asap.  In particular the screen/storm door is all busted up, can't close all the way and needs to come off before a winter wind takes it off it's hinges and hurtles it towards the neighbor's house.

This project is Mark's baby so I'm ultimately letting him choose, but I've narrowed down the endless options for him, after two years of studying door styles and what would work well with our house (we're looking for a single door with sidelights.)  PS - wow!!! - doors are an investment!  Guess Mark & I are giving each other a front door for Christmas this year :)

Just about any of these would be perfectly lovely as far as I'm concerned!

Traditional, eclectic or craftsman - I'm game.  What's your favorite??


{This Old House}

{The Yellow Cape Cod}

{Charlotte Romance/original source unknown}

{HGTV Dream House 2009}





{CCForteza/Los Angeles}


*********ding ding ding*********

*******I think we have a winner!********
*****oh wait, I'm not choosing.  darn.*****

Which one would you choose?


Lusting After:: Warm & Cool

Hi friends!  

Last week's rattan chair painting debacle got me thinking.  Despite the fact that they are pretty beat up after over a decade with this crazy family, I DO like their warm tone.  I've been analyzing spaces in my house and in inspiration photos that have warm browns, and maybe it's the time of year, but I am feeling warm browns…..especially when paired with cool tones.

For example…..

warm brown, white, and cool grey.

{Velvet & Linen/Brooke Giannetti}

{Pottery Barn}

{original source unknown/found here}

warm brown and cool navy blue.


What do you think about warm & cool together?  Are you a fan of these color combinations?
I see some new projects on my horizon…..


A Mirror Makeover

Thank you to everyone who weighed in on my last DIY Gone Bad last week!  Since those chairs will eventually be moved to the basement, I decided not to put too much effort into making them over.  Instead, I rearranged my living room furniture to hide the hideous paint job and we are just going to ignore that eyesore and carry on with life.  Yep, that's how I roll.  I just can't get stressed out about those kinds of things!

Thankfully I got my DIY mojo back with some other projects, starting with this mirror that I really wanted to reuse someplace in our house.

We have a matching bureau, mirror and dresser in our master bedroom.  Last spring during the Color My World Challenge, in an effort to break up the matchy-matchiness of it all,  I took down the mirror and created a little gallery wall over the bureau instead.  

The mirror found it's way into the foyer where it's been leaning up against the wall for the past few months while I mulled over what to do with it.  
I like the curve on the mirror, the bevel on it and also it's scale - the mirror is oversized on this wall and I love all the light that bounces off of it from the windows by the front door.  

But - that reddish wood tone had to go.  Some kind of metallic?  Whitewash for an aged wood effect?  Hmmmm.

While I really want to try all those fancy paints like Annie Sloan's Chalk Paint and milk paint, I've got two shelves worth of paint cans and spraypaint in my garage staring me down, so I figured I could use what I have.  

After much hemming and hawing, I taped newspaper to the mirror, roughed up the frame with sandpaper and gave it all a couple coats of regular old black satin spray paint.   

I distressed the mirror frame with a fine sandpaper so that a bit of the wood tone could peek through, but after giving it a coat of poly, it still looked a little blah to me.

So……Rub 'n Buff to the rescue.  It needed just a little bling!

I have Silver Leaf and Gold Leaf R&B on hand so I combined the two for more of a champagne-gold.
After applying R&B with a finger, a paint brush with the bristles cropped short is great for getting into nooks and crannies.

I gave the R&B a teeny bit of distressing too, to give it a little character.

And here she is with a little autumnal styling by my 12 year old.

{This little vignette is the extent of my fall decorating this year - no word of a lie!}
I love that this big mirror reflects the fall foliage.

The dresser (previously white and stationed in my babies' nursery) houses all my candles and whatnot.  A couple coats of black spraypaint and some cute knobs from Anthro gave this piece new life.

Some day we'll get to rip out that sweet 80s tile and install hardwoods in this little entry, and I can't wait for that warmth of the wood with the black & white scheme.  I LOVE how easy it is to change up this space seasonally.  

After my big strong 14 year old gets home from school to lend me some muscle, I'll show you how we will hang this heavy mirror so it doesn't rip out of the wall and scare the living daylights out of me!

I'm linking up to POWW at Primitive and Proper - the most wonderful furniture makeover linky party in all the land!!  {Thanks for hosting, Cassie!}
Primitive and Proper