Removing Wallpaper from MDF Board

IMG_20170917_114421902_HDRCompared to my other projects, my downstairs bathroom remodel really didn’t entail much work. I don’t even have before pictures for this blog entry. We had done a large part of the remodel a couple of years ago when we replaced the toilet and linoleum. This particular part of the project entailed replacing the old sink fixture and cabinet pulls, removing wallpaper, and painting.

This 1/2 bath is located in the basement of our split level home. Our basement has curious wall boards: a combination of MDF board in the bath, drywall on the inside walls, and cement backerboard against the outside walls of the family room.

20170520_192813Although I had initially removed some thin mauve wallpaper years ago with a rented steamer, this time I was removing some thick grass paper I had installed 8 years ago. I rented a steamer again to remove it, and the sucker just wasn’t working for me this time. I looked online for possible solutions and found this:

I had never used a chemical stripper before, having always rented a steamer to remove several walls of previously installed wallpaper from our 30 year-old-home. But this, my friends, was a godsend!

As I state repeatedly in my blog, I do not get paid to endorse products. No kickbacks for me–I pay full price for everything.  But after using this to remove the thick grass paper I had in the bath, I am almost sorry I removed all the other wallpaper the old fashioned way. With Zinsser’s DIF Fast-Acting Wallpaper Stripper, removing even the heaviest wallpaper is easy peasy!

You might find you need to remove the top layer of very thick wallpaper like my grass paper and/or spray each layer several times. Basically, you just spray to saturate the paper, wait a few minutes, scrape off the excess paper and glue, and wipe down thoroughly with a large sponge. That’s all there is to it!

After cleaning the entire wall with a damp sponge, I painted the entire MDF wall with Behr’s Baked Scone from Home Depot.

We decided to keep the old bath vanity. It and the cultured marble basin were in great shape. We simply updated the drawer pulls and put in a new faucet with shut-off valves underneath. (For some reason, the bath sinks in our house had no internal shut-off valves.)

I removed the old builder’s grade mirror and hung a smaller beveled mirror I found at Home Depot. Since the new mirror was smaller than the old, I needed a back splash to keep the MDF board from getting wet.

I found this Inoxia Speed Tile (Bengal stone) self-sticking tile in stock at my local Home Depot. To lay it, you must have a flat, clean, untextured surface (MDF worked well for this.) Simply cut to size, peel the back, and stick. Unlike the plastic peel and stick tile I used for my RV, this stuff costs about the same, is made of REAL stone, and sticks permanently. I mean it’s super permanent. No bubbling up or wrinkles.

To cut the small tiles, I used a heavy pair of tile nippers.

All in all, this small remodel project was certainly not as intense as the guest bathroom–at least when I had the right tools and realistic expectations. But I dread the master bath project when we get that underway. That’s going to require gutting and a total redo.

For that, I’ll need to get motivated. Right now, we are working on re-siding the outside of our home. My hubby does most of that work, but it’s very hard to get motivated to do outdoor projects when it’s so hot here in St. Louis…

Thanks for visiting,






The Guest Bath and My Dilemma


This was the second time I felt overwhelmed by a project I had taken on. The first time was several years back, when I inadvertently removed part of my basement wall, along with some very dated wallpaper. (I ultimately just skip-troweled that bugger into a stucco/plastered look, which ended up looking pretty darn good.)

But this second time–well, this was something different entirely.

In choosing to remodel our home, we knew, at some point, we were going to remodel both bathrooms. And I knew that we were holding off on the master bath because we’re going to have to practically gut the whole bath and start over. Against my husband’s wishes, I chose to fix up the guest bath for two reasons: 1) I didn’t think it would be a drastic remodel, and 2) we were expecting guests in the next few months, and I thought it would be nice to redo the bath for them.


I had successfully re-grouted the shower and replaced the shower fixtures with brushed nickel. I wanted to save the vanity and simply give the cabinet a facelift by painting it with Rustoleum Cabinet Transformations. I was even going to save the cultured marble countertop by finely sanding it down and polishing it. That left us with the prospective tasks of repainting the walls, replacing the flooring with vinyl planks, and replacing only the toilet and vanity faucet. Simple, right?


The more I examined the cabinet, the more I noticed its defects. The cabinet face was real wood and looked good, but the frame was just particle board. It looked like it had water damage some time in the remote past (before we moved in.) I realized that if I painted, I would essentially be hiding water-damaged particle board. To make matters worse, the cabinetry had been installed over the flooring. To tear out the old linoleum, we would have to remove the cabinet or cut around it.

When I realized all this, I was overwhelmed by a sense of helplessness. I sat on the edge of the tub, exasperated. I am usually realistic about my talents and abilities. But this time I knew– I had truly bitten off more than I could chew.

My husband could sense my frustration at encountering these obstacles. He cheerfully concluded that we would just bite the bullet and buy a new vanity and toilet. The plumbing would have to be reworked (there were no under sink shut-off valves), and he was the guy to help me do it. He virtually did all the hard work and heavy lifting—from tearing out the old toilet and vanity to constructing the bead board wainscoting and trim to reworking the plumbing and installing the new flooring, toilet, and vanity.

I just painted and decorated and thanked my lucky stars that I have such a handy and generous husband, who is ready to bail me out of situations where I’m in way over my head…or when I slice off my finger. But that’s a story for a different blog.

20170508_171624I found a cottage-style bead board cabinet at Lowe’s and worked the décor around that. Because I had salvaged the old tub and tile, I wanted a clean, white cottage look. Once I explained to my husband my ideas for the bead board wainscoting, he knew exactly what he had to buy, do, saw, and nail.

I merely painted– everything– from the light fixture to the mirror to the walls (Home Decorator’s Bayberry Frost from Home Depot) to the bead board and the trim. I even distressed the wooden face plates.

By removing the old wall cabinet behind the toilet, I found space for an original print of mine. Instead of drilling holes in the shower stall for a curtain, I found a bowed tension shower curtain rod and cottage style shower curtain at Target. Things came together within a relatively short period of time, and the final result was more functional, lovelier, and more up-to-date than the old bath.

Ultimately, it took two weeks and about $1,000 to fix up the bath, which is not bad at all for an almost-full bath remodel.

Of course, I’d be nowhere without my hubby and his expertise. He actually taught me a little more about plumbing—and about maintaining your composure in the face of enormous obstacles.

Thanks for visiting,


Save The Tiles!

Tub Surround Before…………………………And After

My 30-year-old house had the same tan-speckled white 4″x 4” builder’s grade tile in both bathrooms. It’s not especially pretty, but it’s still in good condition. Several years ago, I decided the master bath shower needed re-grouting, and I spent days with a manual grout saw sawing back and forth, back and forth, back and forth—you get the picture. It still stresses me out thinking about getting all that grout out by hand.

Ah, but once my arm healed, I re-grouted and sealed the tile—and it looked like a brand new shower. Beautiful! Even if it was cheap tile…

Several years later, I told my husband I wanted to re-tile the guest bathroom, to which my husband responded, “Why don’t we just re-grout? That seems easier.”

I laughed and sarcastically responded, “Maybe for you!” No, there was no way I was going to go through all that hand sawing to re-grout cheap tile. It seemed easier just to rip it all out and start over.

Recently, however, I perused Home Depot’s web site (yes, do a lot of perusing on home improvement web sites) and discovered a grout saw blade which fits onto a standard multi-purpose tool. “Wow,” I thought to myself, “if I had one of those, the prospect of sawing all that grout wouldn’t seem so daunting!”

I purchased this grout saw blade to fit a multi-purpose tool (or as my husband calls it a “sidecutter”) we bought from Harbor Freight. The nice thing about this particular blade versus other blades you can get is that it has a point on it. This point enables you to get into the corner edges of the grout line, whereas with a round tool, you risk cutting into the tile or wall on the other edge of the grout line.

The grout in the guest bathroom looked worn and probably had never been re-grouted since the home was built 30 years ago. There was a minor bit of mold build up and a few visible cracks, but the tile looked intact, and it didn’t seem like there were any problems with plumbing leaking anywhere in the shower or behind the shower wall.

So, I decided to save the tile!

I went into each of the grout lines with the grout saw. In less than two hours, I had cleaned all the grout out. Because of the tool’s bulky shape, I couldn’t get the saw to fit into the corner seams, so I had to buy a cheap hand saw to do the inside corners and around the tub. That was only a minor problem.

Picture of the tub with grout removed.

I used a straight razor to slice away the old silicone caulk and the little shell-shaped anti-slip stickers at the bottom of the tub (they came when we bought the house.) Even without re-grouting, the tub looked cleaner. It almost looked like a new tub. All the icky was gone… Then I re-grouted with white tile grout. Three days later, I double-sealed the grout with impregnator and caulked the corners and around the tub and tub fixtures.

Now, I don’t know a whole lot about plumbing (I have a live-in handyman for that), but I knew the old chrome fixtures were still bringing the whole tub down. I decided to replace them with brushed nickel. I learned—all on YouTube, mind you—how to replace the drain, the overflow drain, the tub spout, the valve trim, and the shower head. Ok…so all the replacements I’m talking about are merely cosmetic, and there was no serious plumbing to be done, but I was proud of myself, anyway—for taking the time to learn the proper terminology for those parts and learning more about how those parts function in a working shower.

Conclusion, the tub and the tile were definitely worth saving. Chances are at some point, the new homeowners might want to re-tile or do something different. But for now, the tub and surround look simple and clean. Best of all, I have saved huge amounts of time and money by simply re-grouting rather than re-tiling.

Thanks for visiting,


Rustoleum Cabinet Transformations

Meet my new best friend—Rustoleum Cabinet Transformations!

beforeafterkitchenBefore and after of my kitchen remodel…

Rather than tear out and replace all the kitchen cabinets in our recent kitchen remodel, I chose to paint over the existing cabinetry, replacing only the doors in the older cabinets. I wanted the older and newer cabinets to match closely, so I replaced the old arched doors with a profile similar to the newer cabinets, painted them all the same color, and added identical hinges and cabinet pulls.

I bought three kits on sale for $50.00 each. Three kits were more than enough for the number of cabinets I had. (I could have gotten by with two kits.) I made the decision to invest in the kit after watching the Rustoleum YouTube instructional video at  This video is extremely thorough, so I won’t go over the specific steps for using the kit. Make sure you watch it several times before you begin your project.

20170508_170846Each kit comes with an instructional DVD, green scrubbies, paint sticks, one container of deglosser, two cans of bond coat, two small cans of glaze, and cheesecloth for glazing. You get all of this with every kit. You cannot mix and match, nor can you buy these items separately from the kit. That’s just how Rustoleum packages this product.

There are two types of kits, depending on whether you want dark or light cabinets. When you purchase the kit in the paint department, you specify the color you want, and the paint technician mixes your color at the paint counter. For my cabinets, I used the light kit, with paint mixed to the color Linen.

The only thing I ran out of was cheesecloth, so I bought extra rags. Although I had ample amounts of everything else, I had to buy an extra bag of rags at the hardware store. I special ordered unfinished cabinet doors through Menard’s. For unfinished cabinetry,  Rustoleum suggests that you prime the bare wood with Zinsser, but I didn’t find this step necessary. I just painted the bond coat directly onto the wood surface.

I would like to say that anyone can update their cabinets by using this kit, but I would be lying. I think you need to possess some degree of artistry and ability to paint neatly to get this to look nice. The most difficult part of the painting is if you choose to use the glaze. This requires that you paint the glaze and immediately wipe most of it off with a clean piece of cheesecloth to get a grainy, worn effect. This takes some skill and practice. When applying the protective coat, I learned that it sets fairly quickly. Just brush it on thinly and cleanly and don’t work it. Then, in about two minutes go back over your strokes with your brush once to pop any bubbles in the clear coat which may still be there.


Preparation is key! Clean the surface well before you start. I used Zep Degreaser to clean off grease spots and fingerprints on the existing cabinets and doors. Next, I used the deglosser and a scrubby pad to rub off the glossy finish. Then, to ensure that the bond coat would stick well, I sanded with 150 grit sandpaper and an orbital sander. Finally, I wiped the entire surface clean with a damp paper towel and dried it completely. Note: with the unfinished doors, I skipped this process completely.

Use a high-end, nylon bristle brush. You will need this to apply the bond coat and protective top coat. I bought a 2” wedged Purdy brush for $12 and was glad I did. I use it for all my painting and clean it promptly and well after every use. Don’t try to cut corners here–a cheap brush will leave brush strokes and stray bristles in the paint and ruin your work!

Use a foam brush for the glaze coat. There’s no sense in using or cleaning a nice brush for the glaze coat. This stuff goes on nasty! Buy a cheap foam brush and throw it away when you’re done.

Use a clean section of cheesecloth every time to you wipe off glaze. Make sure you wear disposable gloves! Like I said, this stuff is nasty and messy. The point with wiping off the glaze is to try to leave on enough to create a “grain” look on flat surfaces and glaze in the grooves to better define the profile of the cabinet door. If you run out of cheesecloth, get more or use clean rags.

Do not leave globs of paint when painting the clear protective coat. If you forgo using the glaze, know that the protective top coat does dry with a light-yellow tinge. If you leave globs of paint on the inside corners, you will have light yellow globs when it dries. This won’t matter if you’re painting a color, but if you want a true clear coat over stark white, I would opt for using a different brand of protective coat which absolutely dries clear.

Here is another look at the finished cabinetry…

As I said in an earlier blog, I don’t get paid to advertise for any of these products or sites. I’m just sharing what I’ve learned in practice and research. Having said that, the Rustoleum Cabinet Transformations is an exciting product to use when you want to update the look of your existing cabinets but don’t want to or don’t have money in your budget to replace them.

Thanks for visiting,


Our Rustic Kitchen Makeover


Kitchen Before and After…

Our house has just celebrated her 30th anniversary. We have lived in it the last 17 years. Now that my daughter has moved out into her condo, we have too much house. So, we work to fix up and remodel each room IN the house as well as working on the house’s exterior. Yes, it’s a shame we live in our homes so long and then spend all our efforts fixing them up for someone else to enjoy. But I keep going, thinking of the lucky young family who might live here next, knowing that I will soon be enjoying my gypsy lifestyle.

Our first real project was the kitchen remodel. Although I was fond of the dark wood flooring, the dark oak cabinets had become shabby looking and dated. The countertops were a cheap formica, and the sink was way too small. Originally, the house had a pantry with a limited amount of cabinets on one side—not enough space for all our dry goods and housewares. We only had $3,000 to spend remodeling.

Our kitchen before the remodel…

I will admit up front that I’m only about 70% satisfied with this kitchen remodel. In truth, I wasn’t able to do one thing that I really wish we had the money to do—replace all the appliances. Though dated (you can’t really find bisque anywhere but maybe Sears), I didn’t really mind our bisque Kenmore appliances. They’ve lasted far beyond their years and have been very reliable.

I decided that–instead of replacing the appliances–I would decorate the kitchen around the bisque, knowing that eventually the room would need to accommodate the newer style appliances—whether they be stainless, black, or slate. If the new homeowner wanted to splurge or negotiate on newer appliances, we would work that out. But for now, the stove, fridge, microwave, and dishwasher would stay and get a thorough and overdue scrubbing.

20161005_103148With only $3,000 in the budget, I felt I couldn’t afford to tear out and replace all the kitchen cabinets. About five years ago, we added some unfinished cabinets to the other side of the kitchen. They were in good condition, and I didn’t want to replace them. I know that mismatched cabinets are the trend these days, but I wanted all the cabinets to look like they belonged in the same kitchen, even though they were on opposite walls.

I worked around this by buying new doors with the same profile, dimensions, and hinge style as the newer cabinets. In addition, I felt using the same paint color, cabinet pulls, and countertops on both, might help create the illusion that they were all installed at the same time.


Painting and countertop installation underway…

Using Rustoleum Cabinet Transformations and a LOT of elbow grease, I painted all the existing cabinets and doors to the newer cabinets. I then painted all the new, unfinished oak doors. I did everything in stages, so we were able to use the kitchen as we dragged renovations along. For a few weeks we ate a lot of takeout, and there was a two day period of time where we had taken out and installed the new sink.

I ordered my pulls from at 5PM on a Friday and, without any special shipping and handling instructions, received them by noon the next day! I would highly recommend them for any cabinet remodels you might need to do. Their prices are fair, service is fast, and their selection of pulls is great! (No–I don’t get paid to advertise for anyone on this site.)

When my daughter redid her kitchen, she found a sink faucet which I absolutely loved. My husband still wanted the dual sink, but we found a much larger new sink with an asymmetrical design. I never realized how inadequate our old sink and faucet were until we installed the new one.

With a $3,000 budget, solid surface and granite countertops were out of the question. But we did choose laminate that looked more like granite countertops in a pattern called Summer Carnival by WilsonArt. I didn’t want the counters with the prefabbed backsplash, because I felt that looked too cheesy, and I knew I was going to tile a backsplash on my own. My husband measured them, ordered them, and picked them up within two weeks. He also installed them, along with putting in the new sink and faucet. After I had painted the new cabinet doors, he installed the new ones with European hinges and put together new drawers for the fronts I had ordered.

I did the DIY tile backsplash. This was only my second tile project, and it took me several days to mortar, lay, grout, and seal the backsplash. The tile was an arabesque pattern (I didn’t want to buy into the Subway tile craze,) which I felt had a homier look. I love how it turned out. I hated doing it, and I would recommend AGAINST doing this for a DIY project. That is because the tiles are virtually impossible to lay perfectly. Because of their non-standard shape, you cannot use standard spacers very well. I will never do that again! This is something good I can say for subway tile: It is cheap and easy to lay.

20170409_110505Finally, there was the floor. Really, the floor was the only thing worth saving. It was true hardwood, installed when the house was built. It was dirty and worn and needed refinishing. If I hired a professional to refinish, I’m sure it would have cost me at least $500. Too much for my budget! So, I looked for information on how to DIY refinish my own floor and found a YouTube video, produced by This Old House.

20170317_143756For the floor, there was a LOT of crawling around on my hands and knees, MUCH scrubbing, and profuse sweating. But the floor came out beautifully and sparkled as if it were new.  Best of all, we were able to refrain from walking on the drying floor by just leaving the house for two days and going camping.

I had selected a paint color from Menard’s called “Ten Gallon Hat,” a color which worked very well with the Rustoleum Linen cabinets and the granite-style countertops. But I felt the room was too dark with the new LED ceiling fan/light we installed. Hubby installed under cabinet lighting which allows us to see what we are doing and illuminates the backsplash beautifully.

20170409_110640Lastly, we had professionals through Home Depot replace the old bronze aluminum window with white vinyl. It really brightened the room, and now I can actually open the window! That I did not factor into the improvement budget, but it was well worth the cost, and now all the windows in the house match. The kitchen window has been adorned with modified shabby chic curtains…


That’s an in-depth recap on what we’ve been doing in our kitchen. I will feature more specifics about Rustoleum Cabinet Transformations in a later blog.

Thanks for Visiting,


Diamond Grids for a Tudor-Style Cottage Window

20170325_083144Now that Minnie is remodeled, we are focusing on remodeling our house. Why? Because the ultimate goal of this professional gypsy is to sell the house, retire, and head off down the road full-time in our RV. During the next couple of years, all of my projects and most of my time will be devoted to fixing our old abode of 17 years to enable some other lucky family to ultimately enjoy the comforts of this home.

We live in a moderately-priced subdivision in St. Peters, MO. Our home is a Tudor-Style home. I was never a fan of the style. Don’t get me wrong. When we bought it, I was glad to have a “tract house of our own with a fence of real chain link.” What turned me on about this house was that it was very spacious inside and had a huge, fenced backyard for our new dog.

20170322_100644The original windows were a bronze aluminum. The home had diamonds taped to the window for a leaded muntin effect. But when you got up close on the inside, they looked cheap. When we moved in, I found some adhesive lead, which looked better than the electrical tape the previous owners had up. In 2011, we replaced the window with white vinyl casement windows with the intention of showing off some of my stained-glass art.

With our ultimate goal of fixing the old abode up, I’ve had to focus less on displaying my own personal art and more on showcasing the original style of the home. I decided to decorate and remodel in a sort of English-Tudor Cottage Style. I felt that style would help set this home apart from all the contemporary/transitional style homes, capitalizing on the Tudor-Style exterior, yet further setting this house apart from the other Tudors also available in the subdivision.


Muntins and Mullions and Grids—Oh My!

I decided it was time to put the diamonds back in the windows. I started with some research of photos of Tudor-Style homes with white windows. I found a picture of a quaint home with white muntins (or grids.) I actually fell in love with the look, and I wanted them in MY house. They were dramatic, yet romantic and in keeping with the Tudor Style.

Next, I googled “DIY window grids.” Here’s where I came up with this site, which was written by a DIYer who made his/her own rectangular grids. Aside from some annoying ads which popped up, this blog was very useful. The writer’s windows looked marvelous in the after photo, seemed simple enough to do, and used relatively inexpensive supplies to get the job done. Only problem—these were rectangular muntins, and I wanted diamonds.

So, I dug back into the far recesses of my brain to tap my geometry skills, bought some supplies, and employed a little trial and error. (Fortunately for you, this blog entry edits out all the failed attempts and focuses on the right way to do things.)

If you want to do a diamond muntins (yes, that’s what they’re called,) these instructions will only work in casement or picture windows. The moulding I used here is too thick for a single or double-hung window frame.

You will need the following supplies:

  1. Screen trim moulding made of polystyrene (approximately 6 for every window, depending on size)
  2. White plastic paint
  3. Hot glue gun
  4. Large newsprint or blank paper on which to draw a pattern
  5. Double-sided adhesive mounting tape

Most importantly, you will need some degree of artistic/carpentry aptitude, lots of patience, and a good compound miter saw. No, a miter box WILL NOT do. The angles needed for a diamond pattern are too complex and non-standard. Although it only cost me about $125 in supplies, that cost does not include the saw, and this project took me three full days to complete.


Casement Windows Before



You will have an outside frame of 45 degree angles. Once the frame is in place, you will have an interior space you fill with your diamond grid. For the typical window, there are fewer diamonds going across the grid than down, because the window is usually taller than it is wide, even though the diamonds are also taller. My window measured 3 x 4—three diamonds going across, four down. The top and bottom diamonds are split in half.


First, paint the backs only of the screen trim moulding with plastic paint. The front of the trim is already white, but the backs are a natural tone. You want to be able to see them from the street. Apply two coats in a well-ventilated area. Both items can be purchased at Lowe’s.





The frame should fit neatly in the window opening without any buckling or gaps on the edges. Corners are cut at 45 degrees. Here’s where experience with a miter saw helps, because it gets a LOT hairier than this!


You need to make darn sure that your frame fits the window before you start adding grids. You’ll be thankful that you did.


20170323_092918Cut a paper template to fit the OUTSIDE of your frame and trace the edges of the INSIDE opening.


Folding is easier, but if you’re willing to do a little math, you can calculate. You will need intersect lines for the number of diamonds minus one. So, for me with a 3×4, I needed two vertical lines and three horizontal lines. When calculating, remember to keep in mind that you are using the area INSIDE the frame, so your diamonds won’t be askew.


If you did your math right, everything should line up. These are the center lines over which your moulding should line up.

Here’s a guideline of what your pattern should look like:



20170323_112252I started with diagonal lines going in one direction first. You do not have to worry about structural soundness of the grid, since this is just Styrofoam and very lightweight. It just has to look nice. Lay each strip of moulding with its center along the grid lines. Mark off the corner and side angles with removable pen. Here’s where you will get to know your miter saw. I suppose, if you wanted to measure and calculate angles, you could. But trying to figure this out made me a bit crazy, so I just eyeballed it, matching the drawn angle to the blade of the saw.


This will give you added stability before you tackle the crossbars.


DO NOT glue all the crossbars until you get a proper fit of each piece. Because this is polystyrene, there is a little give between the diagonal bars, and you will have more consistency if you wait until all the bars are done before you glue them down. I finally figured that I was cutting all the crossbars at a 19 degree angle on the miter saw (but that may vary for you, depending on the size of your window and diamonds.)


This is your last chance to make sure everything fits properly and to sand down anything that needs sanding or adjusting. Also make sure your window glass is completely clean and free of fingerprints.

MOUNT THE GRID20170324_095009

Cut double-sided tape and place it on strategic points (including the corners) of the grid. Remove the red side of the tape and gently fix in place on the window. I shouldn’t have to say this, but you wouldn’t want to break your window glass by pushing too hard to fix the grid in place.



A view of the windows at night.


20170325_083144I don’t have much to look at—just the neighborhood cul-de-sac. But I find that I am enjoying drinking my morning coffee and staring out the window. It just seems—oh, I don’t know—more cozy to me. Who knows? Maybe I’ll be so attached to the view I won’t want to leave!

The exterior of the house looks more cohesive and inviting. I decided to match the basement double-hung windows to the upper windows using none other than white first aid tape. Yes, if you approach the window closely, you can see they’re gridded with just tape, but from the street you can’t really tell the difference. My next project is to repaint the exterior of the house using more subtle, less stark colors than the traditional brown and gold.


I hope that you didn’t find these instructions too complex—or easy—and that you are empowered to take back your cottage view and make your home something unique.

Thanks for visiting,










RV Mattress Extension

Even in the most expensive and longest of RVs, it seems that the queen/short is the most popular mattress featured. A standard queen is 60”x 80” long. A standard king is 80”x 80”. In contrast, most queen short mattresses measure only 74” long instead of 80”.

For short people, the lack of 6 extra inches is not a big deal. I myself am only 5’3”. But for my hubby, our queen short bed is simply not long enough. He is 6’1”, and his feet hang over the edge of the bed, even with his pillow shoved all the way to the head of the bed.

I found a simple solution to the mattress issue we were experiencing.

A mattress extender is a short, mattress-sized pillow which comes in two halves and is inserted at the head of the bed to make the mattress longer. This solution works, of course, provided you have enough space at the foot of the bed to stretch the bed out. In our case, we had a few inches to spare, although it was tight getting around the bed with the extenders inserted.

I had some 5” foam I had purchased for the dinette cushions, so I had hubby cut the size I needed to make two pillows. I made my own, having purchased some quilted mattress fabric and zippers. Essentially, each pillow rectangle should measure ½ the width of the mattress by 6” by the height of each mattress.

This is what the extenders look like inserted into the mattress. If you normally have a special queen short fitted sheet, you can stretch a standard queen sheet over the mattress and the extenders.

Now that I have made my own mattress extender, I have to admit something to you–I would NEVER do that again. It was not cost effective for me to make my own extenders for a queen mattress, when I could have just bought them from Camping World. These extenders even come with their own bag for out-of-the-way storage when not in use.

20161201_133857Having said that you should BUY rather than MAKE, if you have a KING short bed, you might have to resort to making your own. But purchasing a queen extender directly from Camping World is the most cost effective solution to altering a QUEEN short bed.

After we put the extenders in, my hubby was very pleased. His feet no longer hung over the edge of the bed, and he could sleep comfortably without having to scrunch himself up into a fetal position.

Ultimately, the use of mattress extenders has opened up a whole new class of RV floorplan designs for us to consider when we finally do upgrade from Minnie.

Thanks for visiting,


A Homemade RV Roman Shade

20161203_121235Welcome back to Minnie’s remodel! In reality, I am almost finished with the remodel and have actually moved on to a condo we are rehabbing for my daughter. Then there’s the kitchen. I’m just a remodeling fool these days.

I thought I’d tell you a little about our custom Roman shade for Minnie.

The old door shade was a standard white vinyl rollup shade screwed to a long frame under a cornice above the door. I decided in the end to tear out the cornice, the particle board mounting frame, and the shade and replace this all with a homemade Roman shade.

I found an in-depth instructional video on how to make a custom Roman shade from In addition, I was able to purchase the Roman shade kit parts used in this video on the same site. The rest of the shade supplies (brass rings, pull, eye screws) I found at JoAnn’s.

I won’t go into great detail on how I did this, since the instructional video is very thorough. I won’t even give you a cost break down on this project. I will say that I did use 1.5 yds of both my paisley fabric and the drapery lining.

If you decide to make such a shade, you will need to keep in mind the area of clearance you have ABOVE the door. In our case, we made a pine mount with a fabric-covered 2”x 2”, which we screwed into the wall, but you need to take care that the bottom dowel is low enough on the shade to offer adequate clearance between the bottom of the shade and the top of the door. My hubby is very tall, and has to duck down as it is to clear the door, and we didn’t want the bottom of the shade getting caught in the door itself.


Here are pics of the shade being assembled and mounted. I later attached another fancy command hook to the left of the shade to wrap the shade cord around so that it would clear the door when being opened and closed.

All in all, we were both happy with the new shade. Next, we will feature our quick fix for tall people sleeping in a short RV bed!

Thanks for visiting,


RV Curtains



No, there was simply no way I was putting the cornices back up! I considered it at one point, when I realized the true purpose for having them. That was to mount and hold the shades in place. The shades in the bedroom were in fine shape, but the shades in the living area were shabby and falling apart. The dinette shade actually looked like it had a huge coffee stain on it.

The old fabric was stapled to the existing cornices. When I studied them to consider repurposing them, I realized the fabric covered a flimsy vinyl paneling the manufacturers had used for the interior walls.


I decided instead to hang curtains. Using more of the striped material and drapery lining I had bought on sale, I made some tab back curtains for each of the five largest windows. In addition, I bought an ecru linen material for the insides of the curtains.

I found these café rods in two sizes to cover the six windows (three in living area, three in bedroom) at Menards. I had issues with drilling holes for the brackets to hang them. Rather, I was afraid to drill holes. I read someone else’s blog recommending use of command hooks to hang the rods, which I found was a brilliant idea. The rods I selected worked wonderfully for this, although I did need to hang a third hook in the center of the larger windows for added stability.


I had my hubby cut the hooks with a razor blade by scoring and snapping it like he would have a piece of plexiglass. I hung the cut center hook like this:


My hubby found a wonderful website with various instructional videos on drape and shade sewing at I’m sure they’d love to sell you an industrial sewing machine, but their videos are extremely informative and they have many hard to get supplies you might need for sewing your own upholstery. More about them later.

Since I had no previous curtains to copy, I realized too late I made a major calculation error in the width of my drapes.

This is what I did for a 59” window:

Rounded up to 60”/4 panels= 15” each curtain (plus two inches for seam allowances)= 17” each panel.

But I forgot about multiplying by two for gathers.

So I had to add another two linen panels to fully cover the windows and factor in gathering.

The final drapes turned out okay. I’m still trying to decide whether I like them. I DO like them better than the nasty shades, but I’m still grappling with the practicality of the drapes. (I apologize for the dark photos, but the pic was extremely backlit.)


Here is the breakdown of the project:

  • 6 café rods, 3 large @$4.22, 3 small @ $2.64…$20.58
  • Wedgewood Upholstery Fabric- 3 yds @ $18.00…$54.00
  • Drapery Lining- 3 yds @ $2.99…$8.97
  • 7 yds Linen @$3.99 per yard…$27.93
  • 2- Boxes 2 lb Command Hooks, Clear (5 hooks per box) @ $8.99 each….$17.98
  • Box 2 lb Command Hooks (for center) (7 hooks per box) @ $8.99 each….$ 8.99
  • 2- packages Fabric Sticky Back Velcro dots (specifically for fabric) @$3.99…$7.98
  • Total Cost This Project…$146.43

Note: I used leftover paisley fabric for the tie backs in the living area. I used what small bits of fabric I had left for tie backs in the bedroom.

Overall, due to my miscalculations, I am the least satisfied with this portion of the project. However, the new drapes do impart a homey feel to the living and bedroom areas, and I think I will simply have to get used to the idea of closing drapes versus pulling down a shade.

Thanks for Visiting,


Minnie’s Cab Over Curtains

20161013_104032Again with the olive drab! These curtains were not only ugly, but they were in serious need of cleaning—really yucky on the white lining side of the curtain facing the window. They were truly a nasty grey that I’m not sure would have ever washed out.


The thing I discovered about these curtains is how they were mounted in the cab over window. When I took them down, I found that the curtains had a plastic guide tape attached to the top and bottom which were, in turn, slid onto a rail at the top and bottom.

I had read some more frugal people doing RV makeovers taking the time to use a seam ripper to rip the tape off the old curtains and sew them onto the new. This would, at best, be a sloppy affair. The tape was made of plastic, so any previous sewing holes would still be evident. Also, with years of sun exposure, the tape was discolored and brittle. The rails were in good shape, and I found 72” replacement tape for a little over $6 each at Camping World (with my Sam’s Club discount.)

Again, I used the old curtains as a patterned guide for the new and selected the striped upholstery fabric that I had used for the privacy curtain. To figure the appropriate width for the new curtains, I calculated the width of the old curtains, added two inches for side seams and 1” for each pleat. The width didn’t have to be exact, although erring on the side of too long was better than it being too short.

You can see how the glide tape attached to the curtain and then the rail.

Sewing the new tape onto the new curtains proved to be a nightmare at times. First, I picked a very slippery, lightweight fabric, which was difficult to sew in my machine and get even stitches. But I learned, when sewing the tape to the fabric, that the key to getting a good seam around the outside was to sew like I was sewing a zipper (with the needle to the left of the foot) and to turn the glides sideways so I could sew as close to them  as possible. Once the curtain was sewn, I could turn the glides the right way to feed the finished curtain onto the glide track.

All total, I made eight of these cab curtains. Two hung on each side above the privacy curtain and the other six hung two to each window of the cab. I had long strips left of the paisley material I used for the dinette, which I used to make the drapery tie backs. Each is attached to itself with Velcro tabs when I want to gather the curtains and let in a little light.

One might say that I haven’t strayed too far from the original olive drab curtains, but I think I’ve updated the cab quite a bit. By adding the paisley tie backs, I think I’ve added a little femininity and a much cleaner look to the décor as well.

Here’s the approximate cost breakdown for the cab curtains:

7 yds. striped upholstery fabric @ $18.00 per yd., Wedgewood….$126.00

7 yds. Drapery lining @ $2.99 yd….                   $20.93

2 Spools of Thread, cafe @ $3.49                         $   6.98

4- café serger cones, buff @ $3.49 each…..     $13.96

8- 72” @ $6.29 glide tapes (smaller windows can be cut in half, top and bottom)… $50.32

Velcro sticky back tabs for fabric….  $5.49


I admit that, although I did find these fabrics on sale, I could have saved more if I had kept my eye out for better sales. But I felt that these fabrics were high quality upholstery fabrics and well worth the money. The cab over curtains were by far the most time consuming part of this remodel, but I surmise that having custom curtains made would have cost me even more.

Note: I didn’t figure in the cost of the paisley tie backs because I used scrap fabric from the dinette.

Thanks for visiting,