Fixer Upper: Finishing Touches on the House Before Selling

Move over, HGTV! WCB is here to save the day!

As I wrote a few months back, my family and I listed our house and have slowly but surely moved our stuff and ourselves into our new apartment. The downsizing has been REAL and thankfully we’ve had all this time to sort through and get rid of/donate/sell what we’re not intending on keeping.

Currently we have an offer on the table and are waiting on the bank to approve all the paperwork for the sale to be final. We really like the buyers, and they are super happy to be moving into the house. As expected, there are some things that need to be fixed here and there, and of course I’m doing whatever I can so we can call the actual handyman for only the absolutely necessary. So here are some of the home improvement projects I’ve taken on:

  • Front & garage door makeover: Our house has beautiful wooden doors that due to normal time tear as well as Florida weather and hurricanes have deteriorated pretty heavily. So I got myself lots of sanding paper, varnish, and spray polyurethane and got to work. Check out the before & after!

    Front door:

Garage door:

  • Fixed the lamp that broke during the hurricane: remember how thankfully the only physical damage we had from Hurricane Irma was a broken lamp? Aside from one glass that got completely shattered when it fell on the rock that was right under it, I managed to put back together the whole lamp structure and glue it back to the pole! Looks as if nothing had happened 😀
  • Put curtain rods and rolling curtains instead of the broken blinds in my brother’s room: a minor “side effect” of hurricane Irma was that when I was opening the windows to close the shutters, my brother’s blinds fell off (whoopsie!) and I didn’t want to replace them with the same crappy style, so I decided to add a nice touch to the room with a curtain rod and curtains that would be enjoyed by the new owners.

I did a few more things like fill and paint the holes from hangings on walls, and many other painting-related things around the house, but these were the ones that were the most noticeable issues that we wanted to fix before the owners moved in. I’m so in love with how the doors turned out and I seriously can’t explain how big of an operation it was to put the lamp together, so I’m very satisfied with my WCB handy skills!

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Extreme Makeover: New Apartment Edition

Ok, don’t get too excited because I only have two makeovers ready for publishing, but I guess it’s a good contrast to my usual lengthy posts.

With the move and fixer upper moments behind us, it’s time to improve the things that we’re actually keeping for our new apartment!

  • Bookshelf Makeover: I bought this shelf for my brother at Walmart a few years ago for his books, and it actually made it through one move with us already. It was badly beaten and falling apart, some of the nails had gone through the wrong side and broke the wood, etc. So I took out all the splinters, fixed the positioning of the back slat and nailed it down more precisely. I filled the spaces left by the missing wood chunks with wood glue, and then spray painted the whole thing a dark brown to match our new bathroom drawers. Then, I bought a Con-Tact brand non-adhesive shelf liner from Target with a pattern similar to the marble counter top of our bathroom as well. Even though originally the shelf was meant to be thrown out, this was a cheap makeover (all I spent were the $5 on the liner, everything else I already had) and it’s proving to be super useful storage for us!
  • A Quickie Makeover For a Lazy-Eye Sun: so my mom is really obsessed with suns, and she has all kinds of sunny paraphernalia around the house. But there’s this one sun I REALLY wanted to leave behind/gift/throw out or whatever to not see it again. I really wasn’t a fan of it at all, especially because the artist kind of gave it a bit of a lazy eye when he made it. Since my mom refused to part ways with it, I compromised with her by giving it a bath of rose gold, since by now you know I live, breathe and sleep on cans of rose gold spray paint. It took the depth of the design away since it’s all one flat color, but I actually quite like the little guy now!

That’s it for now! You know there’s plenty of little projects to do when you move in to a new place and especially with reorganizing all our things, but with the day to day of work, orders, and events, I’ve had to turn down the crafting for a bit. I hope you guys like these projects and get inspired to re-purpose or makeover some stuff as well!

I’m Moving!

Life update!

I currently live with my mom in a big house which I occupy by myself for long periods of time because she travels a lot, so I’m left to tend to the house alone and even though it’s usually not a big deal, it became apparent what a burden it truly is during last hurricane season in Miami. Having a house with 38 windows at the time a hurricane is about to hit is nerve wracking (and in my case, also caused a few minor injuries last time).

When Matthew hit in October of 2016 I didn’t really worry about it and only half closed our accordion shutters (which make life SO much easier!), and thankfully they ended up not being needed. This year, with such devastation being caused by Harvey in Houston, we were a little more concerned when Irma came heading straight for Florida. The week leading up to its arrival I spent preparing the house, safeguarding documents, running around finding water, and completely shutting close our shutters, many of which were stuck due to lack of use. My dad actually wanted me to leave to my sister’s in New York, but traveling seemed more stressful to me at the time than sitting the hurricane out, and thankfully I was right. We were incredibly lucky to not have lost power for even a second the entire time, and the only damage to our house was a broken lamp outside.

After that, I sat down with my mom and told her I thought the time to move had come, and she was totally on board. Taxes and all the expenses that come with owning a house that big are pretty hefty, so we decided that we were also going to heavily downsize and try to get rid of as many things as possible. Our house is gorgeous but also filled to the brim with things we’ve carried with us for years, (even decades!), including sentimental things we brought with us from Venezuela 15 years ago and everything we’ve acquired in between. When you have a lot of space, you tend to fill it. I for one have my bedroom and a craft room to de-clutter and downsize, and I’m not looking forward to that AT ALL.

I asked my mom to hold on putting the house on sale until after Michelle’s bridal shower since I was hosting it, and now I’m happy to report that we’ve listed our house on the market and my mom moved FAST so we already found an apartment we’re hoping to move into ASAP. We will take advantage of the time we have between now and when the house closes to start selling what we can, donating what’s in good shape, and throwing out what is no longer of use. I must confess, I also told my mom not to count on me too much for the process until after Michelle’s wedding, since I do have quite a bit to work on, but we’ll do little trips here and there so the move is less daunting.

Stay tuned, as I’m sure I’ll post some makeover projects and I also foresee some IKEA building fun in the near future for me 😉

My Adventures in Orlando – Making Over My Brother’s Room!

Due to the flexibility of my schedule, I spent the past few weeks in Orlando with my little brother, which was much needed together time as I miss him terribly and he is starting new responsibilities at his job. I was glad to be there and help out with his apartment/chores so that he had one less thing to worry about.

He’s been living in that apartment for about a year now, with one of his high school friends as his roommate. For the most part, guys have a reputation for not being great decorators or paying much attention to beautifying their surroundings. My brother’s roommate has lots of flags and posters in his room and around the apartment, so in that sense there’s definitely a good amount of visual stimuli in the common areas, but my brother is another story. He’s never been one for posters or any type of decor – and to be quite honest, he’s like 0.5% handy. I’m the one that puts the furniture together, and he’s a great cook. Role reversal to the face, so take that, stereotypes!

At the beginning of my stay, I realized his room was all white walls and grey/black furniture. That was it! For my colorful self, I really couldn’t fathom waking up in that color scheme for days without going a little crazy. I needed to add something to the space, keeping in mind 100% my brother’s taste because of course I’d only be there temporarily and he would be the one that had to stare at it extensively. Aside from the lack of art, the room also needed a little love in general. The toilet seat was broken/unhinged, the shoes took up all the space in the closet floor so it was not really a walk-in, the curtain didn’t reach all the way down the window so light would get through (and my brother decided to stack some boxes in that space to block the light haha!), etc. So, I’m going to stop talking (writing) and show you how over the course of a few weeks, I transformed my brother’s room!

Room Improvement 

 

The next part was a bit tough. It’s always a challenge to decorate for a guy, because adding art while keeping the guyish vibe is a very fine line to toe around. I think I managed pretty well, see for yourselves!

Artsy Remodel 

 

Other details

 

These changes were done slowly (even though it really could’ve been done in a day) but they really completely made a difference and my brother liked and appreciated them all. I had no budget for this, so I tried to spend as little as possible, so this is a testament to the fact that a little can go a long way if you get creative and get your hands dirty!

A Little Makeover Love for Grandma’s House

It doesn’t matter whose house I’m at or what country I’m in, if there’s an opportunity to do some little house project or craft, I’ll jump in right away. And then when there are no projects people want me to jump into, I’ll create my own.

My grandma’s house in Colombia is a second home for me, and my grandma loves when I show a little love to any corner of the house. She has two very artistic grandchildren, and since she’s a lover of the arts herself, she is all for us getting our hands dirty – but then thoroughly washing them before we touch anything else on the property.

The end of our trip was coming and my cousin and I were itching to do something and get that feeling of satisfaction over a newly completed craft. As I was pacing around the house, I realized the outside of my grandma’s house had some very pretty columns, but they were all white, and they had a lot of detail on the top, the type you see in movies or opulent architecture structures, that should be gold. And so I immediately thought to myself, this is it. This is my project. Let’s make grandma’s columns shine in the full glory they were intended to do! Also, the entire house was white, and it badly needed an accent wall. I’m notorious for pushing accent wall ideas on my mom 😛

gh-bf-3-e1512760743276.png

I picked this for the accent wall because it was small and centric enough to make an impact with little paint

So I went to the hardware store, bought a quart of gold paint, some brushes, paint thinner, and paint tape, and got to work with my artistic cousin. It took us about two days to finish the details (there were a lot), but the final result was absolutely worth it.

Now, not so fast. for our first #FixItMoment of the year: since it was for exterior work, I got oil-based paint and thinner. And since both my cousin and I were painting simultaneously, we needed to have separate containers for the paint, so I poured some for me on a disposable plastic cup. So I’m mid-painting, minding my own business, when I start feeling a liquid trickling onto my toes and I can’t figure out where it’s coming from because I keep looking up… and then as soon as I look down and realize the paint is penetrating the cup and I’m about to cover it before it spills any further, the entire bottom of the cup gives out and disintegrates and ALL of the paint plummets to the ground and sprinkles all over me. I was in shock and unmovable for a good 5 seconds until I gathered my senses and went to grab thinner to clean up the mess before it dried, but you know what I’m also notorious for? Not wearing aprons or craft-friendly clothes when I’m working on something, and I wear pretty dresses instead… long story short, I was able to clean up most of the big mess but there were some dots that got absorbed by the gravel and by my dress, and these are permanent. The ground ones are not too bad or noticeable, and on my dress there was one pretty obvious one, but knowing me, I’ll wear it regardless. Not a total fix, but #ItsHandled.

And now, for the big reveal!

And the accent wall!

What do you guys think?! My grandma was SUPER happy with the outcome and everyone that came over afterwards said what a difference it made to the overall look of the house. Another remodel in the books!

DIY Toddler Toy Chest – Jungle 1, 2, 3 Theme

I know I’m not alone in the #CrazyAuntsClub being absolutely obsessed with my nephew and wanting to give him literally everything he may possibly enjoy, and as a crazy crafter, when the chance comes along to personalize something for him, I’m always on board before I even get asked.

Before my gorgeous and perfect little monster David Alejandro was born, my mom wanted to get him (among other things) something that could be used in his room and that could last him a long time. We were at Michael’s one random Sunday, and stumbled upon a plain blue knit style chest in the basket section, which my mom thought would be useful for anything. She gave me the “can you do something with this?” look, and my eyes lit up. I went over to the paint section to buy a few colors to add to my stash, and we barely made it out of the car before I started working on it.

My brother and his wife decided to decorate David’s room with the Jungle 1, 2, 3 theme, and so my mom wanted me to personalize the chest to seem like it was part of the set. Theme? Check. Paint? Check. Canvas? Check! I started drawing right away, even though I wasn’t sure how I would tie it all together or make it work, I was just anxious to start seeing it come alive.

I started with the monkey in the front – my brother has always had a thing for monkeys and we knew that should be the predominant image. Then I went to one side and made the giraffe, and drew the elephant on the opposite panel. Even though the animals were cute, I felt they were missing something. Since the monkey looked like he was hanging from something, I started painting a branch for him, and proceeded to make a full blown tree run along the whole chest. Looking at the front, I realized that the panel on the top lid had enough tiles to fit his first and middle names, with spaces and everything! I went into my bag of wooden letters, jumped of excitement for having the ones I needed, painted and glued them on to make it even more stimulating for David.

To finish off, the Jungle 1, 2, 3 set only has those 3 main characters, but I saw a couple of other interpretations of the theme with more animals like lions, zebras, birds, etc., so I thought it would be a nice complement to add the lion on the lid. It fit in perfectly:

Top Lid

Top Lid

And that’s it! I’m super proud of how it came out. I did 2 or 3 coats for each of the characters since the fabric absorbs a lot of the paint, and it really looks like it’s part of the original set.

Finished Product

Finished Product

My brother and his wife have used it in a couple of different ways, first for his clothes, and most recently it became his Toy Treasure Chest. It warms my heart to see him playing with it – he lives in Colombia so it’s mostly through FaceTime or videos – but he just looks SOOO cute next to it ❤

David Alejandro getting some thorough use from his toy chest <3

David Alejandro getting some thorough use from his toy chest ❤

I know for a fact that lots of aunts and moms out there go crazy crafting for the babies and toddlers of the house, and I would love to see some of your work! Comment below and link back to your blogs if you have them up 🙂

My life revolves around maps… Canvas Travel Map DIY

I think at this point it’s pretty clear I have a thing for maps and lists, right? But since pretty much all of this obsession has yielded multiple DIY projects I’ve accomplished with massive discounts, I’m going to give myself a pat on the back and call it a day. Cool? Cool.

Do you remember WAYYYYY back in the day when Facebook had a map functionality (which I’m sure it still does, it’s just not “trending” right now) where you could input all the places in the world where you had been and also see what percentage of the world you friends had traveled? Well, this definitely sparked my interest in having a more tangible version of this that I could look at to inspire my wanderlust bucket list, and also would make me feel happy bringing back memories while looking at the places I had been before.

Making this happen took quite a while because as usual, when you have such a strong vision of something you want it’s either super expensive, or it doesn’t exist. In my case, I really wasn’t keen on paying more than a certain amount for something I knew I could make happen for a much lower cost, so I started the hunt!

THE MAP

The first item I was looking for was an actual canvas map of decent size. It’s funny because this was actually MY VERY FIRST GROUPON PURCHASE!! Throwback! #TBT… Now I don’t know about you, but Groupon is definitely one of my top go-to sites/apps when I’m doing research on an item because it usually has some pretty good offers, and this was a great deal to this day from what I’ve seen. Anyways, at the time, Groupon was offering this great deal on canvas maps that were originally close to $80 for just $19.99 + free shipping. I chose the earth-toned unframed map (no longer available) because I wanted the map to be on a cork board so I could stick pins on the places I’d visited. The Groupon was as easy as buy, choose, order! I was very excited when my map came in, and it absolutely fit the vintage-y vibe I was going for.

THE FRAME

After finding the map, it spent a couple of years rolled up waiting for a cork board that fit the size, had the right framing, and of course, was pocket-friendly. One day while I was at Jo-Ann looking for god knows what, I stumbled upon this cork board that looked like it would be a good fit for the map, and it was on clearance! I wasn’t sure about the measurements, but I took the plunge and bought it. To my great delight, it fit it ALMOST perfectly. Isn’t it the best when you stumble upon what you need when you’re not looking for it? YES! Yes it is! Now for the “almost” perfect fit part – the map actually has a cute border design, but it went a little over the frame on the cork board. Not to worry though – pair of scissors enter stage right and bam! I cut off the bottom border and glued it on top of the canvas so it’s still there and now the map fit perfectly! You can’t even tell it’s cut & glued unless I told you.

THE REST

I glued the edges of the map (not the middle so it wouldn’t make the canvas too hard for the pins) to the cork board with some Beacon 527 Multi-Purpose Glue , which is literally my life and soul. I love that freaking glue! And then I wanted the map to kind of look like “dropping a pin” in real life, so I bought some red Loops & Threads Long Pearlized Pins at Michael’s, and started pinning away my prior travels. My map looks like it got chicken pox all over North & South America (and a tiny bit in Europe) and I love it! I’m doing my best to keep spreading the red all over 😉

WCB DIY Travel Map 1

Chicken pox hitting hard in the western hemisphere!

THE MATH 

Map = $19.99

Frame = $11.99

Pins = $4.99

Glue = $2.50 (coupons!)

TOTAL: $39.47

The WHOLE project is up and running for under $40! And it will of course be a beautiful addition to my beloved Craft Room 🙂

WCB DIY Travel Map 2

Dropping a pin on my most recent and unforgettably amazing trip to the beautiful city of San Francisco ❤