Thursday, May 31, 2012

Turning A Closet Into An Office - Part 1

We've decided to work on our living room (I know, I know.  It'll make sense in a moment).  It's a very boring, rectangular space.  There are no architectural elements to work with.  No real charm.  And although I painted it and hung a TV years ago, I sort of left it at that and moved on to other projects.

The TV doesn't get used too much anymore (now that the family room has been renovated).  It was time to make this space into a (somewhat) more formal room.  (This is where I add - we are so not formal.  We are really making this space into a formal living room for resale.)  So, the TV needs to come down.  Which is step one.  Removing the TV means relocating some electronics which were stored in the 'closet' behind the living room wall.

This closet is in our family room - and it is directly behind the TV.  You can see the cables that we ran through the wall to connect the cable box and DVD player.  It's where we've hidden all of this stuff for a couple of years.  We decided to address this little closet.  We want to make it an office space.  A place to keep our printer, modem and router.  Maybe extra office supplies too.  Craig and I both use laptops and we don't really need a dedicated office so this will be perfect. And it will solve the other living room issue - 

My old 'office'.  Yup, it was right in the middle of our formal living room.  Which I never really liked.  But, it's where I set up my old desktop computer years ago.  That computer doesn't get used anymore but that is where the modem and router are still set up.  Relocating the modem and router to the closet makes the most sense for us.

But first let me share a 'closet' before shot.

This closet used to be a wet bar!  Complete with mirrored walls, glass shelves, and a brass sink!  I know, awesome right?  Well, not really my style.  I removed the shelves and mirror a while back.  And I painted the doors when I renovated the family room (I'll share some before and after pics of my family room soon - I had forgotten just how ugly it was seven years ago!).  The wet bar transformation stopped right there because I started on some other projects.  So, now it's time to take it a little further.

We cleaned everything out and got to work.  We shut off the water to the sink (which I didn't even know was on since I had never used this faucet!).  

We disconnected the pipes and out it came - 

We decided to leave the pipes as is just in case the next homeowner wants to turn our office into a wet bar (and the pipes weren't really in our way).

Then we turned our attention to the tile counter/shelf - 

Yay - demo complete!  Next step - building a shelf.  We chose to build the new shelf out of MDF.  We have used it in other projects and it has worked well. It doesn't warp, it is easy to work with, and it looks great painted.  Using the old shelf as a template, we cut the new shelf - 

An improvement already!  We still have a ways to go (it's funny how such a small project can have so many steps!).  What's left?

- fix the paneling
- putty the holes
- caulk the seam where the shelf and paneling meet
- prime everything
- paint the walls 
- paint the trim and doors
- run the cables for the modem and router
- (maybe) add a couple more shelves (not something we need right now so it may have to wait)

And then we can start working on the living room!  

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Ups and Downs

Last weekend was very eventful.  Our son, Andrew, turned 18 on Sunday!  To celebrate, we went to the beach.  Luckily for us, we live relatively close to a great Canadian beach on Lake Erie.  And although the day started out a little cloudy, it turned out to be beautiful and sunny.  I ended up a little sunburn - even though I spent most of the day under our canopy!  But, we had a great time relaxing (I poured myself into my latest read - a Barry Manilow biography which I received for Mother's Day.  Sand + water + Manilow = happiness).

Anyway, going to the beach wasn't the only fun we had.  Nope.  We also put up our new volleyball net!

Our kids love playing volleyball, so we finally bought a net for the yard.  It's been great having the neighborhood kids over for a few games.  I know it's going to get a lot of use!

So if the net went up, went came down?  A tree in the front yard.

The tree on the right just didn't make it.  We really liked the tree - it provided some privacy to our side yard (and driveway) as well as some shade.  But, unfortunately, it had problems.  A couple of years ago, all of the leaves started shriveling up and falling off.  We had hoped that it would come back, but it never did.  We finally just put it out of its misery.  Craig chopped it down.  :-(

It was a lot of work but it had to be done.  On the bright side, I can now redesign this little corner of the bed - 

None of the bushes in this area are in great shape and I've never really liked the layout.  It's a great excuse to do some rearranging.  (If you look in the picture above, you can see some of the brown leaves at the edge of the bed.  They are from the tree that came down.  The whole area would become covered in leaves - more on the ground than on the tree - within weeks.)  I'm trying to come up with a plan so we can spruce up this corner soon.

Inside the house, we started working on our living room.  Well, sort of.

Our living room was one of the first rooms that I tackled.  I painted it before we even moved in.  It was one of the only rooms that wasn't wallpapered so the task was pretty easy.  :-)  But I never really did much else to make the room look finished.  It became the room where furniture went to die.  

It's a very boring, rectangular room.  And I've never been particularly inspired to do anything with it. Until now.  I have a few ideas to fix it up.  But first I need to make a couple of changes.

I'll explain my plan tomorrow - and show you what we've been working on.  

I'd also like to take a moment to thank a couple of people for featuring my projects lately.  My Orb Chandelier was featured on's blog!  I was really surprised (and excited) to see my project there!  

And my Homemade Dance Floor was featured on Design Dazzle!!  

Thanks ladies!!  I really appreciate the features!

Now I'm off to nurse this sunburn!  Ouch!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Hapari Swimwear Giveaway!

This giveaway is now closed.

I am really excited to announce a new giveaway!  Just in time for summer!  You can win a gift card worth $85 for Hapari Swimwear!  In case you aren't familiar with Hapari's attractive swimwear, here's a few examples from their site.  They have beautiful Tankinis -

There is something for everyone!  And one lucky winner will get to go on an $85 shopping spree!  Woohoo!

To enter -

{Please leave a separate comment below for each entry}

1. {mandatory} You must link one of the following via personal blog, Facebook, or Twitter:
(You can link in a blog post or share via Facebook or Twitter)
Then, come back here and copy/paste the url where the Hapari link can be found.

For additional entries - 

2.  Follow My Covered Bridge via Google Friend Connect.
5.  Share this blog post on Facebook (leave the url in your comment)
6.  Share this blog post on Twitter (leave the url in your comment)

This giveaway will be open until Sunday, June 3rd, 2012 at midnight est.
Winner will be announced Monday, June 4th, 2012
Oprn to US residents only.

Good Luck!

Disclosure - Hapari has provided me with a gift card for hosting this giveaway.  No other compensation was received.  The opinions expressed are my own.

My Memories Suite - Winner!

The winner of the My Memories Suite giveaway is

Liza Vladyka!  


Please send me an email - - by Thursday, May 31st so I can get your information!

Winner was chosen by

Friday, May 25, 2012

My Friday Five - Week 27

Memorial Day weekend starts tomorrow so I've put together a few patriotic finds.  While we spend some time with our friends and family, we should also take a moment to remember our fallen soldiers.  Freedom is not free.


1.  I love these Paper Stars - 

I found these on Hostess with the Mostess.  Aren't they fun?  There are great step-by-step instructions (with pictures) on the site.  They would make great decorations for your backyard bbq!

2.  How about a patriotic treat?  Chocolate covered strawberries - 

Yum!  Delicious and pretty!  And easy to make!  Head over to Life Tastes Like Food for the recipe.

3.  Here's a patriotic wreath idea - 

Isn't it beautiful?  Check out the tutorial at Naptime Crafts.  It's amazing what what you can create with a wreath form and some yarn.

4.  Back to the snacks...Chocolate covered pretzel rods - 

You can never go wrong with these!  This version is on Cupcakes and Cashmere.  Salty and sweet - a great combination!

5.  Are you looking for something a little healthier?  And appropriate for you Memorial Day picnic?  Try this flag fruit platter - 

This idea came from Chandler and Brianne.  Very clever!  

Are you inspired yet?

Thursday, May 24, 2012

What Happened To Pinterest?

I love Pinterest.  A lot.  It's great to be able to pin a new recipe, inspired room, or DIY craft.  Having everything on one page is so convenient.  I no longer have tons of bookmarked websites.  Or folders in my file cabinet filled with magazine pages.  Yay!


Lately, it seems the spammers have taken over.  At first, I noticed that if I searched for something, like a "pillow", some of the pins that would come up would lead to spam.  OK, I can handle that.  I would try to click through but there would be no tutorial or shop.  Just spam.  Boo.  In the last few weeks, I've noticed a huge shift towards spam.  Now if I search for "pillow", I get this -

OK.  Nice pillow but not exactly what I was looking for.  The spammers have learned to write a caption that will get noticed (In this example, the caption is "Pillow pillow pillow pillow")  Btw, every one of these pins is spam (not a shocker).  And, every one of these pins has already been reported as spam.  So, why are they still showing up?

I wasn't ready to lose hope just yet.  I decided that the best way to find new things was to skip the search bar and just repin things from users that I follow only.  Which has helped a lot.  (This is where I need your help - I'd like to follow you!  Please leave a link to your Pinterest boards in the comments and I'll follow you.  If you are interested, you can find my boards here)  I also pin things that I find all over the web.  Problem solved, right?


Last night, we attended my son's high school graduation.  Super fun!  So proud of him!  Anyway, when I returned home, I hopped onto my computer and did some surfing.  Of course that meant checking out Pinterest.  And something caught my eye.  I happened to notice that someone had left a comment on one of my pins.  Which doesn't happen too often.  I clicked on the notification, and found this -

This is one of my boards.  Except it isn't.  Somehow, a spammer created a whole new board in my account.  And pinned a really crazy image - 

This is all fake.  I had absolutely nothing to do with it.  I didn't create that board and I didn't pin that image.  And most likely, if I hadn't seen that notification, I wouldn't have caught this on my account for a long time.  (Actually, I have no idea how long it's been there.  It wasn't even the last board on my 'wall' - it was somewhat camouflaged in the middle.)  I marked the pin as spam and deleted the board (there was no way of marking the whole board as spam).  This was completely out of my control.  And that makes me nervous.  I have over 1300 pins.  I plan on going through each and every one of them over the next couple of days to make sure they are legit.  I also changed my password.  I'm hopeful but I don't know if it will stop this fake board and pin spam from happening again.  

Has this happened to any of you?  Have you seen this before?  Are you a little nervous about the security (or lack there of) of Pinterest?  I'm really hoping that they will be able to add more layers of control so this doesn't happen again.  My fingers are crossed - I don't want to go back to a pre-Pinterest world!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

The White Room Challenge - Lights

Last night's challenge for HGTV's The White Room Challenge was a trip to the (in-studio) light store.  I thought this was by far the hardest challenge in the series.  And I was really curious to see how the contestants would take this on.

First up - Torch's room

I liked this room. The floor was very cool.  Building it up and adding lights was a great idea.  And I loved her industrial light fixture - 

I thought the judges were a little hard on her when they said there was no cohesiveness.  She brought in many different lighting elements and seemed to make them all work.  I figured that she'd do better.

Next room - Eli

This room just didn't make much sense to me.  I have come to grips with the fact that this show is more about pushing the envelope, but I still wasn't a fan.  I did like the wall treatment - it had a very subtle pattern which I thought was really interesting.  Unfortunately, the bright lights (and lack of shadows) probably worked against him.  

Third - Clarione

I loved this room.  It was my favorite.  Maybe because it has a real 80's vibe (and I love the 80's!).  I thought there was a lot of thought and planning that went into the execution.  The colors were bold, the mural was amazing, and the cityscape was beautiful.  I'm not even sure how he pulled off so many elements in such a limited amount of time.  It's impressive!

Last - Jessica

I liked this room too.  But Jessica took a hit for poor execution.  She needed a little more time to complete everything.  I would have loved to see her whole vision.  I always feel bad for contestants when they don't finish on time.  

Ok, so that's my take.  The White Room Challenge series was a little bit of a disappointment for me. I was hoping it would be a little more inspiring.  I did take away some great ideas but I think the producers were more interested in manufactured drama.  Maybe competitive reality shows aren't my thing (oh, except for Chopped - I have no idea how they make great dishes out of those odd ingredients!).  

One last thought - Wouldn't it be cool if they brought in all of these White Room Challenge contestants for the next round of Design Star?  I would love to see more of what these designers can do.  It would be fun to see them in different challenges - to see all of their talents!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

My Memories Suite - Giveaway!

I was really excited when a representative from My Memories contacted me to host a giveaway.  I mean, I love giving my readers an opportunity to win great prizes and all.  What is My Memories?  It's a digital scrapbooking software site.  There was only one problem.  I have never been a scrapbooker.  I always wanted to put together great photo books when my kids were young.  They look so fun.  But I'm the mom who still has all of her pictures in boxes.  Yep, I'm that mom.  Well, not anymore.

The lovely folks at My Memories gave me a free copy of My Memories Suite to try out.  And I've playing around with it for a little while now.  And I'm hooked.  It is really easy - and fun!  And in this digital age, who needs cumbersome photo books?  Digital scrapbooking software is so much better!

Here are a couple of pages that I made - 

There are so many background papers and embellishments to choose from!  I had a lot of fun looking through them.

But scrapbooks aren't the only things you can make.  How about a new Facebook cover photo?

{They even had burlap!}

Or your holiday cards?

There are lots of things you can create with My Memories!

So here's the fun part - Your chance to win My Memories Suite!  A $40 value!  You'll have five chances!

{Leave a separate comment on this post for each entry}

1. {mandatory} Visit My Memories and tell me which digital paper or layout you'd choose.
2.  Follow My Covered Bridge through Google Friend connect.
3.  Follow My Memories through Facebook, Twitter or their blog.  {one entry - leave a comment telling me how you're following My Memories}

This contest will end Sunday, May 27, 2012 at midnight est.
Winner will be announced Monday, May 28, 2012

Want to get started right now?  How about a $10 coupon off of My Memories Suite and a $10 coupon in the My Memories store?  $20 off to get started!  Just copy and paste this code at checkout - STMMMS90555

This giveaway is now closed.

Disclosure - I received a free copy of this software to try.  I received no other compensation for this post.