It’s always fun to look back on all that you accomplished in a year and reminisce about the projects that you now love and can’t live without. I hit some major blogging and DIY’er milestones this year (400,000 total page views, say what!), tackled intimidating projects, and also completed huge projects for both our family and our community.
We started out the year with a bang. Our Christmas and birthday gift to my mother-in-law was a complete kitchen makeover. We took over her house (bless her, she is a sweetheart) and over the course of a week, painted her kitchen’s walls and ceiling, installed board and batten, stripped and sanded all of the dark kitchen cabinets, stained and refinished the kitchen cabinets a light gray, installed pendant lighting, and installed a new tile backsplash. Kitchen renovations are always the hardest, but we got it done on time and under budget by simply working hard and completing all of the tasks ourselves. I’m fortunate to have had the opportunity to offer this as a thank you for everything my mother-in-law has done for both Evan and myself over the years.
This simple project has truly transformed my life. No exaggeration there. My kitchen countertops and cupboards were packed to the max with spices and it drove me nuts. So, I created this simple spice rack out of a sheet of metal and a bunch of magnetic spice tins from Bed Bath and Beyond. I mounted the rack on one wall of my kitchen. Now I always know where the spices are at a moment’s notice and if I’m running low on any. It’s also pretty, too!
One day in the garage, I was trying to figure out how to incorporate my old composite hockey stick into my husband’s man cave and finally, it clicked. I’ll build a lamp. And now I’m hooked, in that I’m always on the lookout of what else I can turn into a lamp. I absolutely adore both of these lamps, and get frequent compliments on them from house guests. I think they’d look great in boys’ rooms, as well.
March: Flagstone Raised Garden Beds
Evan and I wanted a veggie garden for our yard, and one that will last for many years to come. Therefore, we decided to build raised garden beds out of red flagstone bricks. We have two of these beds in the side yard, and have plans to build additional ones in 2014. It was amazing to have fresh peppers, squash, zucchini, tomatoes, and herbs all summer long. And, fortunately enough, the deer kept out of the beds, too. 🙂
Installing a tile backsplash for your kitchen is not as difficult or scary as you might think. I finally gathered enough courage to do it, and I tell you, it has truly made our kitchen unique. We chose a slate and glass tile combination, which blends in well with our beige countertops, refinished red kitchen cabinets, and guacamole green walls.
Our beloved roller hockey rink at Virginia Tech was built out of two old tennis courts, and in need of a little love. Therefore, we decided to refinish the roller hockey rink by painting the surface a light gray, designing and painting a logo, and painting official goal lines, creases, and playoff circles. Nearly six months of hard play afterward, this rink still looks as good as new.
August: Foyer Reveal
Upon move-in, our foyer was a clean, beige slate. To add some personality, I painted it a warm yellow, installed board and batten, painted the ceiling, installed crown molding, added warm accents, and installed track lighting. Now it seems more like a room than just a mere entryway, and I love coming home every day to this bright and sunny foyer.
The living room was one of the first rooms that I painted when we bought our house in October 2011, and I had been working on it slowly ever since. In March, I installed a stone accent wall, which I feel truly makes the space cozy, inviting, and modern. I also painted the ceiling, got new track lighting, bought new furniture and odds and ends, and installed crown molding.
September: The Child Who Never Was
One of my favorite professors in college often told us that writing is the best, most cathartic way to release your emotions. Therefore, I took a break from DIY projects for a day by sharing an extremely personal story about a miscarriage. I received a lot of mixed reviews with this post. My goal was to share it in hope that it would comfort both men and women out there experiencing the same thing as I did. And I met that goal, so I couldn’t be more grateful for having done it.
My dad was in the hospital for a few days, and while in town visiting, we decided to completely renovate his master bathroom as a welcome home gift. In less than 24 hours, Evan and I completely gutted the bathroom by removing the medicine cabinet, light fixture, sink, toilet, and linoleum flooring. We then painted the walls and baseboards; replaced the light fixture; installed a new toilet, vanity, sink, and faucet; installed ceramic tile flooring; and fancied things up with a new shower curtain, towel rack, and a few other odds and ends. My dad was speechless when he saw the finished room, and I hope he enjoys it in the years to come.
December: My Little Etsy Shop
To end the year off strong, I decided to take a huge blogging step by creating my very own Paint Speckled Pawprints’ Etsy shop. Since I’m new at this and I’ve got to admit — this is a little scary — I’m starting off slowly by offering my hand-painted pet silhouettes, which are completely custom-made based on photos and colors that the customer chooses of their pets. My plan is to gradually add more and more of my DIY projects to this shop in 2014. If you’re interested in anything from this blog, as well, just let me know, and I will be happy to create it for you, too!