Tuesday, November 17, 2015

World Map Sign

I know, I know, I tend to stay away from the airway for far to long! I’m hoping next year will be better as I try to straighten out my life, but hey, at least I’m getting my house there!

Right, so on to my latest project!

The infamous map sign!! I’ve been taunted by a world map sign I saw at Ikea a few months back, but with a hefty price tag of $150, I decided then and there that I could and would do it myself. Rather than on canvas like the one at the store, I wanted to recreate it on actual wood, so that’s exactly what I did.

Now a little disclaimer here: it wasn’t hard to do yet it took me forever to actually get it done. I partially blame my husband for that because he and I tend NOT to see eye to eye on things. Since we planned to hang it in our room, I owed it to him to compromise. That being said, we talked in length about every little detail. Again this is hard when you tend to look at the big picture and he looks at each and every detail. But we got it done (thank goodness)!

As you look at the pictures below, I hope you notice that there were several times I could have stopped and called it done, but I didn’t. I had a picture in my head and though, lengthy, this was the process I needed to take in order to get my final result. One thing I will say, is if you have your heart set on something, go for it. Don’t stop half way through, I promise it makes it that much better!

STEP 1: So first things first, I went the easy route (talk about this later), and purchased a world map stencil on sale, from Target. Once I had my stencil, I measured how far around the actual stencil I wanted to go considering the placement of it over my headboard. After that, I purchase 1x4 wood from Home Depot and cut down to size.

STEP 2: Stain all pieces of wood. I thought it would be better to stain everything rather than putting it together and then staining. I’m sure either way would work but I didn’t want any raw wood showing in between the slats so to be certain, I stained each piece first then screwed it all together (screwing in from the back).



STEP 3: I wanted a 2” boarder on my sign so I measured and taped off all the way around the sign.


STEP 4: Center and apply stencil. Ok, this was the tricky part and most time consuming. This stencil hung on for dear life and did not, I repeat, DID NOT, want to come off of the plastic. This was supposed to be the easy part. Peel backing, apply stencil, remove plastic, voilà - stencil in place. NOPE, not the case at all! I had to fight every step of the way get this onto the wood. In fact I believe I lost an island. Regardless, it finally stuck and like I said before, I could have stopped at this point, but did not.


STEP 5: The reason I was sold on buying a stencil is because I had in my mind that I wanted to dry brush this sign. The best way to do this in my opinion is to do it over a sticker or tape, which will prevent it from bleeding too badly. The tricky part was getting around the smaller pieces of vinyl so rather than brushing directly onto the vinyl, I brushed around it then blotted over with a dry rag.

Again, this would be another good stopping point but I had my eye on the prize and wasn’t stopping here either.

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STEP 6: After I removed the tape and stencil, I painted another coat of Dark Walnut stain and removed with a dry rag. This gave it the effect I wanted and imagined it to look like.

Now, a month later and weighing about 50lbs, it’s hanging on my wall and I couldn’t be more in love with it!

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Hope you enjoyed as much as I did!


Monday, September 14, 2015

A Little Change

Sometimes we go through periods where something we see everyday, which is perfectly fine and in great shape…just seems… well BLAH! Case in point, this dresser of ours.

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Again, it’s perfectly fine but I just didn’t love it anymore. In fact, I pretty much had a love/hate relationship with it. I don’t know why, it never did anything to me but hold my clothes, I just knew I needed to change it.

I get that most won’t like my update because I actually made it look older and distressed.  But you know what? I love it now!

I started by painting it a Robin’s Egg Blue. It was beautiful but not quite what I wanted. So I took some dark wax, applied a layer of it over the blue and wiped with a clean cloth and got the aged look I wanted. I also purchased new hardware for it and voila! My new, aged, dresser!



The good thing is Sammy loved the new look as well (thank goodness) since it was mostly his anyway.  So what do you think, better?


Wednesday, September 09, 2015

The Reading Nook

As it is today:


I mentioned before that I wanted a new space to read and this is it so far. It’s quite cozy just not quite complete. If you notice my little side table is in need of some paint and handles. But I’m not quite sure I want it painted just yet. It just has this old distressed feel to it that I’m kinda digging!

You’ll also notice my Pinterest inspired starburst mirror I made a couple of weeks ago. I made it out of wood shims and round mirror I picked up at At Home for a couple of dollars and so far I ABSOLUTELY LOVE IT.


The other thing it lacks is a footstool, which I still need to cover. Now here’s the dilemma with the footstool. I found this awesome fabric at Ikea with lovely pops of yellow that I know will look perfect in this drab grey corner.  HOWEVER….I have a demon cat by the name of Zada who loves to eat my furniture. She has a particular taste for socks, which I constantly find under this chair, and any and all furniture. Since she was a rescue cat (from the devil), we are keeping her but my furniture is suffering which means I’ll probably recover the foot stool and it’ll only last a couple of months before it’s all ripped to shit.  Sorry for the curse word but it is needed in order to explain the fullness of atrocity this cat has on my life! *end rant*

So basically, you may or may not see a footstool recovered in the next few posts. It still remains to be seen. I’m getting the cat fixed this month so I’m hoping it will slow her ass down.  But I digress…

Still lots to do… not enough time to do it…but I’ll get there! Wish me luck!


Friday, August 28, 2015

My Dream Closet

I recently came across Compass, a real estate agency, and found a Dream Closet Challenge they have going on.  This got me thinking about mine since we are in the middle of a remodel.  Basically, what my dream closet would look like given I had any and all resources and money was not an object. First thing you should know is regardless of the fact that the sky is the limit, you’ll quickly find out that my sky is in a bit shorter reach than others.

For example, I was in a group once and was asked,  “if you could buy anything tomorrow and cost was not an issue, what would you buy?” My hand went up first because I knew exactly what it would be. It was one of those wooden sheds you see at home depot that look like little farmhouses. The one I wanted happened to cost around a grand but I’d been eyeballing that sucker for a while now. It wasn’t until someone said a mansion, someone else said a boat/yacht to sail around the world, and another, a plane for the world sightseeing tour as well, that I realized, I didn’t shoot quite as far for the stars as I could have. But that’s kind of just me. Oh well!

So thinking about my closet, there are two things I know for sure.

1. It will contain a coffee bar
2. It will be located behind a secret wall

I’ve always been fascinated with secret doors or rooms. I have no idea why. Everything in the world usually scares me but this one does not.

I remember visiting one of my favorite blogs - Life In The Fun Lane and saw that during renovations, they noticed that behind their closet wall, was a large area that they could extend into. I thought that was the coolest thing. Ever since then I always thought it would be awesome to have a room behind my closet.

So for sake of argument, my “closet room” would be kept hidden. But inside, oh just wait!

It would be styled very much “me”. For example, my love of vintage would be splashed around. I’d have a few delicate vintage side tables, a nice comfy chaise lounge, vintage lamps and a chandelier.

The floors would be hardwood with a nice bright area rug to spruce up the room.

Since it’s still a closet, I’d not only have a floor to ceiling organized shelving unit on one dedicated wall,  but I’d also have an old wardrobe.  I’d have a vanity (which I’d refurbish or course!) and a full-length mirror as well, but it wouldn’t be your Ikea boring mirror. Mine would be ornate and look like you could step into it and be transported to someplace magical!

But my piece de resistance would be my coffee bar.  I’d have it tucked away in it’s own little nook displaying all my vintage coffee mugs, with an array of coffee from all over! Ahhhh such sweet dreams! At least for me anyway!

Do you know what your dream closet would look like? Heck I had fun just imagining mine!


Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Bedroom Plan

I’m currently in the midst of putting my bedroom together and though it isn’t the fastest process in the world, I’m fine with that.  So eventually YOU WILL get an after photo but in the mean time, here is my vision for my room.

Ok, I’ve mentioned before that I won’t show you a before picture of my room. You actually couldn’t pay me to take a before photo, it was that bad. I had miscellaneous crap all over the place. In fact the (rough) drawing below has been cleaned up for your own safety.  And yes, that is Sammy’s work out bench right smack dab in the middle of the room.

                                          OLD FLOOR PLAN

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                                          NEW FLOOR PLAN


We’ve made lots of progress, I’m happy to report. The walls were painted, the floor was laid, window treatment went up and everything is in its place. The only thing we lack is:

· An area rug – but the way Zada (our kitten) had chewed up my other one, this may get nixed. Especially for as much as it’ll cost!

· Bench at the end of the bed- I currently have one in Ashley’s room but once she’s back in school, it will get painted and put in my room.

· Foot stool – I have this round foot stool a friend gave me that that I’m contemplating reupholstering and using in my reading nook.  I’ve never done a round one before so depending on how it goes, I may or may not use it.

· Paint and mount mirror over dresser – I found a mirror at a yard sale years back which I ended up getting for free. I’m thinking of mounting it over my dresser.

· Finishing touches, pictures, décor etc!

So that’s it for now. But it is coming together and I’m loving every bit of it so far!!


Thursday, August 13, 2015

My Grandma - Bita


She used to cook breakfast at 5AM everyday making tortillas from scratch for my Grandpa.  I can still remember the aroma coming into my room every morning.  She used to sing us songs when we didn’t feel good, in fact one that I used to rock my girls to sleep with and one I sang to my dog right before he passed hoping I’d help settle his heart before he left us.  She used to take me to drill team practice, bought me my first car, and scrounged whatever money she had in order to buy me the latest jeans everyone wore since we weren’t very well off. She was my grandma, yes, but she was also my mom.

My story isn’t your traditional mom and dad raising their daughter and although I never like to hurt anyone’s feelings including my own mom, it is my truth. My story. My struggle.  It’s honest and a little harsh but it is mine and without telling it, I could never honor my grandmother the way she deserves to be honored.

My grandparents raised me but my mom was also in the picture. I’ve heard different stories on how this all came to be but regardless of those facts, or just plain stories, my upbringing was, well, different. The most prominent is I was nearly given away but it was my Grandmother who prevented that from happening. I understand that those were different times and there were different reasons but whatever the case, I’m here now and wouldn’t have it any other way.Don’t get me wrong,  I never knew my life without my mom in it. She was always a big part of my life and still is. I just had an extra set of parents as well!  As far as my dad, I didn’t meet him until I was 16. The only story I knew about him growing up, was one my grandma told me. She said he came to see me at her house when I was an infant, held me and said he’d be back. I didn’t see him again until I was 16. I remember meeting him, clear as day. He walked in the house, looked at me and asked, “are you Rita?” and I said “yes”. He said “Hi” then walked away. He died a few years ago and we never really knew each other.  

My grandma and I however had a special bond. I don’t know what it was or how it came to be but it just was. I could never lie to her either. One look at me and she always just knew. I don’t think I ever did wrong in her eyes except maybe for getting pregnant with Ashley at 19. Even then she helped me by babysitting her so that I could work. She babysat everyone actually. She was the mother hen of the neighborhood.

I could go on and on about stories we shared, how she would tell me I was her 4th child when she only birthed 3, and how she told my grandpa to work harder in order to help raise a child they had no business raising at their age She literally made me the person I am today. She taught me, fought for me, and raised me.

So when I would say to people that my grandma passed away recently and they’d give me the “oh well at least it wasn’t a CLOSE relative” look.  I just smile and nod, but I KNOW  that wasn’t the case at all. She was such a huge part of my heart.  She was closer than anyone can imagine. And while I cried happy tears that she was finally able to be reunited with my grandpa, I still miss her.  I miss the woman she was and I miss the bond we shared as I grew up.

One last thing that I am honored to hold in my heart is that my grandpa came to me in a dream two days before he passed away. He was dancing on a table with my grandma and they looked young and happy. When it finally dawned on me that he should be in his hospital bed (he’d had a stroke), he looked down at me and said  that it was ok because they were leaving and going home on Thursday. I began to cry asking him not to leave but he reassured me it would be all right. I got the call at 4AM on Thursday and he died an hour or so later that day. That was 5 years ago.

While my grandma died last month on a Saturday, my sister quickly brought my dream up to me on the day of her funeral. It was held on a Thursday. So be what it may, I know that message held truth and was directly from my grandpa for me.  I truly am lucky and blessed and everything else you can imagine to have three people in my life who not only gave me life…but gave a wonderful one. And I will always and forever be grateful!


Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Starburst Mirror

I’ve come to terms that my room remodel will take a lot longer to put together than what I’d hoped but hey, you do what you can with the budget you’ve got and just make it work. Right!?

That being said, I’m kinda liking that fact that I can spend time on certain areas of the room like my reading nook for example. I never really used to be a reader but once I got started (AMY), I couldn’t stop and when I dreamt of my ‘new room’, it had to include a place to read.  In fact, when we laid the new flooring, I looked at the direction of my window and said to Sammy, “THAT is where my nook will be and I will love it!”. Come to find out I was right.

It’s not all the way complete yet, I still need a foot stool I’ll be working on soon and I need to paint my little side table. Those are awaiting our accent color decision before they get paint or material. Either way though, I’m loving the space so far!


I absolutely, positively adore starburst (mirrors, décor, clocks) anything, except the candy (yuk!). Since again, on a budget here, I decided to make my own with wood shims form Home Depot. I got the mirror from Garden Ridge a.k.a At home, a couple packs of shims and a lot of glue sticks from HD.  I found some great tutorials on Pintrest and set out to make my own. Not bad for under $15.



At least now I have something on the wall behind my big comfy chair!  I love it and I made it, which always makes it that much better!


Friday, July 31, 2015

Bedroom – update!

This month is slipping by and I haven’t been able to update my latest home renovation pictures.  Ok, well, not that much has happened in my room with the exception of one major change, which is not having to live on cement floors anymore!! Praise the Lord!

I know in the end I’ll probably regret NOT taking a ‘before’ photo of what my room originally looked like HOWEVER, It was so bad I think I can easily forgive myself.

You can at least see in the picture below, the floor in all of its concrete ugliness. Paint had already been added to the wall in this photo but it used to have three beige walls and the large wall you see in the photo was a dark accent wall. It was almost black. It worked for the first couple of years but after that, not so much!


And now I actually have smooth floors to walk on, or lay on, or dance on, or what ever I please…without the concrete dust cloud it once produced! I can’t begin to tell you about this changing my life.


I will say that there was a bit of a struggle between Sam and myself during this weekend (4 day remodel). It wasn’t all pretty…no, and there still maybe touchy subjects…but we are still married and happy. That’s a plus. You can actually read about it in this article I wrote for the Dallas Morning News (our local newspaper).

It’s at least good for a laugh. 


I’ll update more as we do more. Unfortunately we had a death in the family. I’ll probably write about it(if I can) but it halted some of our housework. So if I do, prepare for the tissues. In the mean time I’ll get back to you on what’s going on in my life and more than likely new room photos!

Love you much and talk to you soon!


Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Oh Such Sweet Treasures!

You know when you’re a kid and you find money on the floor then put it in your pocket because you’re afraid someone will take it away from you? That’s sort of the feeling I got with this! It was on my neighbor’s curb ready for the trash man to collect it and I about died because I was running late for work and couldn’t steal it. BUT…lucky for me, I’m married to someone who ABSOLUTELY LOVES me enough to walk across the street, steal it for me, then carry it up the front steps to hide in our house. I can’t even begin to tell you how great he is!

So now that it was mine, I had a good idea of the direction I was going to go with it. However, sometimes you quickly learn that furniture is a lot like toddlers. Sometimes you have a good kid and sometimes…not so much. You see those mom’s at the store whose kid is telling them what to do?  Well same here sister! This one did not like the color I was going for which was blue…nope… it fought me every step of the way. Same for the stain!

I won’t bore you with the details but after my picture show, I’ll tell you how I prevailed.





So again, I already has my sights set on a similar look but different colors than what I ended up with. What changed my game plan was that the top of the dresser was more of a laminate material and the body was entirely wood. Which basically told me that the original top probably broke and they replaced it with the laminate piece. You can tell up close because they don’t match too well, and the edges were rough.  Of course that didn’t deter me, so after three attempts at painting the top (yes 3!), I got it! Since sanding didn’t work, and primer didn’t work, I used a white semi-gloss spray paint and spay-painted the top only. I did very light coats to ensure that it would stick this time and not peel completely off like it had before.  Once it was all pretty and even, I added a couple of coats of the same white paint I used for the body.  AND I WON! Check this bad boy out now. 

I love it, Sammy loves it and already claimed it as his, and now it’s set to go in my new bedroom that is in the midst of being remodeled. Don’t you love a happy ending!? Yay, I do!


Monday, July 06, 2015

Just when you think you don’t got it – You Do!


If anything I’ve learned in all of my 41 years is that sometimes you got it…and sometimes you don’t. Truth be told, if you’ve got it, it never really goes anywhere you just have to look for signs that it’s still in there somewhere!

What I mean is this. You know the saying, when one door closes a window opens? Or if you lose one sense, it makes the others that much stronger?  Well the saying is true when we feel like we’ve lost our mojo so to speak and turn around ask “what the hell happened”, or “I used to be so good”.

The fact is, if you’re like me and one day feel like I exude sunshine and am this positive persona (haha so very vain) but then the next day feel like I just don’t have anything to give the world and I’m the biggest dramatic bump on a log… well first, welcome to my club, and second…we are utterly wrong about ourselves.

We have way more to offer than we give ourselves credit for.  That my friend,  is a fact.

And the good thing about it is you might just find your silly self may not be on track the way you would like it to be, but it’s on par for what is needed right now. You just have to explore what that is and be open the difference.

So while I’m getting back on track, I’ve created some “Rita-isms” or what I call #ritawisdom of random things I’ve said. And being me, I colored them up, and posted them on Instagram (@ritamakessunshine) and Facebook. They may not mean a darn thing to most people but I was surprised to see what they did for some. And that in itself can make a big difference!

Enjoy! ~Rita

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