DIY · Home

Craigslist: A Love Story in Three Acts

Act 1

Many moons ago (apparently Spring of 2015 because that’s when these listing photos are from), I found a dining room set on Craigslist.craigslist table and chairsNow, this was during a heavy Craigslist season for me. I had recently found our elliptical and our daybed on Craigslist, and, like an addict, I just couldn’t stop searching. I was now hunting pieces for several different projects, and I realized what I needed was a dining room set. Now, I already had a dining table and four chairs that I loved, but I had BIG PLANS, so I searched for a complete oak set. The one I found (above) had a pedestal table, 4 regular chairs, and 2 captain’s chairs, and it was around $75 for all. Perfect!

As usual, Adopted California Dad came to the rescue and helped me transport my finds. Luckily, this time it was only across town. We worked our magic to get all of the pieces in the back of his truck and my Honda, and we made it in one trip. (Husband just shook his head as we pulled up and started unloading everything in the garage.)

00N0N_eB7qvgEUwHy_600x450First up were the captain’s chairs. This was the main reason I bought this set – I wanted chairs with arms for the front porch to paint red to match our front doors.DSC_0065Husband did the painting on these for me, and we put them to use right away.DSC_0056Shortly after, I thrifted a small table for $10 and painted it to match. BG and I often eat lunch out here, and it’s a great spot for a glass of wine after the kids have gone to bed.

Act 2

DSC_0006.JPGSo, I have a little chair problem. I love chairs. I think it stems from a time when we never had enough chairs at our old house, and many guests were forced to eat dinner while sitting on an ottoman. I look back and realize it didn’t matter one bit, but it bothered me then, and ever since, I’ve had a hard time passing up a good thrift store chair. With this Craiglist find, I now had 4 extra chairs to play around with – yippee!

When we got the Craigslist set home, I added two chairs to our dining room and kept the extra two in the garage. We found ourselves needing a spare chair in the den when both kids were on the computer, so it came in the house as well.DSC_0051Also, just before we painted the captain’s chairs for the porch, the arm and spindles on one side of one chair broke. I searched and searched for replacement spindles with no luck. We cannibalized the 4th extra chair to make new side spindles. (If you look closely, you can see they don’t match, but they work great, and it makes a good story in which I get to use the word “cannibalized”.)DSC_0011I wanted to paint the extra chairs in the dining room a fun color, and this weekend, I FINALLY got around to doing it.DSC_0025DSC_0016It’s “Spa Blue”, and I love how it looks with the navy blue walls and the dark wood table. DSC_0033.JPGI also decided to paint the 3rd extra chair. I went with white to contrast the dark colors of the den. (That camel-colored sectional is also a Craigslist find. I haven’t told that story yet. It’s a good one.)DSC_0034

Act 3

Okay, for those keeping score at home, that’s all 6 chairs accounted for. So, what about the table? Sorry for the Cliffhanger, but Act 3 is not quite finished yet. Husband and I got a good start on it this weekend, but it deserves a post of its own, so I’ll wait and show it to you when I’m finished.

To be continued….


On Procrastination + My Favorite Curtain Rods

Over the summer, while BB and BG were in Tennessee with grandparents, Husband and I worked hard for several days on lots of house projects.

img_8191-001We painted BG’s room. “PINK!” is what she wanted, and pink is what she got.


We built a “new” bed for BB, and we put finishing touches on a “new” desk for him.

img_8192-001We finally decided on a paint color for our bedroom – surprise! It’s the same color as most of the rest of the house – Garden Stone by Clark + Kensington. We used it in our bathroom as well. It was amazing the difference it made in those two rooms – so bright and fresh. (I hope to have another post about the bathroom coming up soon.)

(PS – The man who mixed the paint for us at ACE said, “Would you believe that this pink and this gray have the exact same amount of red in them? These two colors are a perfect fit.” Yes, yes I would believe, because I analyze paint colors like investors analyze stocks. It’s an obsession. Hence taking weeks to decide that we had already picked the perfect color for the bedroom – the same one we used in the living room and the hallway.)

IMG_8194-001.JPGI cannot remember why I’m wearing these goggles – sanding or drilling or something – but I look legit, right?

A few months before we painted our bedroom, I took the doors off of my closet. It had those bi-fold doors on it before, and while I liked having them open all the way to see my whole closet (I like seeing all my options), I hated the doors. And I hated the way, when they were open, they blocked the entrance to our bedroom. You had to close one door to open the other. It just bugged me. So one day, I removed the doors and moved them into the garage while I decided on a solution.

But then, as often happens to this ENFP, I start a project, but then other projects catch my interest, and I forget to go back and finish the first one. Especially when it’s not really posing an immediate problem.


But then, during project week, Husband said, “Should we maybe do something about your closet? Or are you planning on not having a door forever?”

Confession: While the organization of my clothes is pretty Type-A – divided and sub-divided by category and then organized by color – at least once a week, the hangers are a complete mess, and the shoes are just a jumble on the floor. No one really wants to see that.

So, after brainstorming several solutions, I decided on the easiest – curtains. I had extra panels that matched the existing bedroom curtains (these simple ones from IKEA), so I went in search of new curtain rods.


I found these brackets, these rods, and these finals. LOVE them. Classic, not too trendy, simple rod, bold finials and brackets. And I like how the black hardware ties in with the black armoire already in the room.


I liked them even more after they were hung.


The black armoire is now Husband’s “closet”, and my closet it tucked away behind the curtains. Ahhhhh, so much better.

As often happens with projects, we ran out of time to put up the rods for the other windows while we were finishing up our week of projects. So we’ve lived with bare windows for 5 months. It’s been fine. One window faces the back of our house with a huge Rose of Sharon in front of it, and the other is high up with only a view of a fence.

But maybe you’ve heard about our weather in Northern California lately? Crazy storms, crazier wind? I came home one day and thought, Wow! It’s really sunny in here. Oh wait, something’s missing…. The Rose of Sharon had toppled over, roots ripped out beyond repair.

After a couple of weeks, Husband (do you see a pattern here?) said, “Do you think maybe it’s time to have SOMETHING on the windows? Since the window is right by our bathroom, there’s nothing to block light or sight, and I can see directly into our neighbors backyard now, which means they can probably see us?” Right. Can’t procrastinate any longer.


It took less than 30 minutes start to finish. A small time commitment to ensure privacy for all.

But 30 minutes was all I had that day, so now you want to guess what’s left?


Yeah, maybe I’ll get to that last one tomorrow.

Christmas · DIY · Home

Oh Christmas Tree!

“It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year!”

I sing this in my head about 800 times each day. Sometimes, I mean it, and I’m rejoicing in the fun and excitement of the Christmas season.

But I also sing it in my head with a heavy side of sarcasm when the kids are arguing over who gets to hang which ornament on the tree or the woman in front of me at check out is angry with the cashier or when we’re running late for school because someone decided to reread ALL the Christmas books instead of brushing his teeth.

My Christmas tree project for this year is a combination of both, the rejoicing and the sarcasm. But mostly rejoicing.

Elf and Christmas Tree

Confession: We have a fake tree. I grew up with a fake tree, Husband grew up with a fake tree, it’s normal for us. Where we live, we are an anomaly. A favorite outing for most people this time of year is the trek to the local (or even not-so-local, in the mountains) tree farm to cut your own tree and bring it home. We did this for several years, but some Christmases we spend here at home and some we don’t, and it’s hard to buy a tree knowing that you won’t even be enjoying it on Christmas Day, and it will just be a pile of dead needles when you return from a cross-country flight, exhausted, with two exhausted children. So last year, we bit the bullet and bought a lovely pre-lit tree from Lowe’s. And we love it. (Especially the glow it gives while we watch Christmas movies snuggled up on the couch.)

But I had a plan for this year, a “VISION”. (Because, another confession: I had to wash our tree skirt multiple times last year because our kitty in her old age, mistook it for her litter box.) (Rest in peace, Molly.)

Playful Country Christmas Tree | Photographer Stacey Brandford | House & Home | #christmastree #redandgreen #holidaydecor:

I knew this would work. And then I just couldn’t get the idea out of my head. It’s so cute.

I measured our tree stand and searched online for a galvanized tub that would accommodate its diameter.

Wow! That’s almost as much as our tree cost.

So I did what I always do – I added it to my Thrift Wish-List.

In November, I still hadn’t found one, but then I looked out my back window to see an old galvanized tub the previous owners of our home had left behind. (The kids lovingly refer to it at the Black Widow Bucket – for good reason!) How had I missed that before?

galvanized tub

So I sprayed and cleaned until there was not a trace of dirt or scary living creatures left and brought it in the house to test.

The diameter was about 2 inches too small for the base. Bummer!

BUT! I had another plan.


I had seen this idea on Pinterest last year, too. I told Husband I just needed to find a chopped down tree trunk! How hard would that be?

Husband said, “How about all those cut pieces that are in that yard down the street?”

Me: “What are you talking about?”

Husband: “I bike by them every day on the way to work. Between here and the grocery store. You haven’t noticed them?”

Me: “No, I haven’t noticed them. Are you making this up? When did you see them?”

Husband: “This morning on the way to work.”

Me: “Wait, are you actually ENABLING me to tackle a new crazy idea?”

Husband: “Totally. You should do it.” (Sarcasm here.)

So I did! I drove until I saw the wood, stopped the car, unloaded the kids, and knocked on the door. The international student who answered the door was very kind. He said he didn’t know what the plan was for all the wood, but he would ask the owner and I could stop by the next day. Then he asked why I wanted it. I laughed and explained my crazy Christmas tree plan. He got a huge grin and said, “That is a great idea!” When I stopped by the next day, he said I was welcome to as much as I needed, and he wished me good luck on my project.

Completion of this project required buying a paddle bit for our drill and lots of time. Drilling out a 1.5 inch hole in a tree trunk is not an easy task. Husband and the kids took turns drilling and measuring (and recharging the drill battery) until the hole was 6 inches deep. It fit perfectly the first time! (Rejoicing here!)

fake christmas tree real wood base

We put the wood inside the tub and placed the tree inside the wood, and my “VISION” came to life!

christmas tree galvanized tub

The kids were thrilled because we could finally decorate the tree (it had been up and lit without ornaments for a week while I figured out the final plan). They went crazy putting up the ornaments (and arguing, see above).

Elvis christmas ornament

They were excited to see the Elvis ball return this year.

This lovely ornament was part of our tree every year growing up. And every year, my brothers and I would take turns hiding the Elvis ball because we were so embarrassed by it. My mom would say, “You won’t believe this, but I found the Elvis ball on the back of the tree at the very bottom. Do you know how it got there?” It would return to the front, but it only took a few hours for it to disappear again. Last year, as my mom was decorating her tree, she called to ask if there were any of her ornaments that I wanted. I, of course, said this one. She was shocked. “After all that time you spent hiding it?” Oh yes.

And, after receiving it in the mail, I, like any good sister, immediately posted a photo on Facebook, tagging my brothers to let them know it was mine. One said, “The only thing I wanted out of that house, and of course you get it.” Some things never change.

“It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year!”

christmas tree galvanized tub