How to Install a Light Fixture (The Hard Way)

In an ideal world, installing a chandelier would go something like this: 1) remove the old chandelier, 2) install the new chandelier, 3) sit back and enjoy a beverage beneath the illumination of said chandelier.  But as you all know by now, I don’t live in an ideal world.  My first-world problems include (but are not limited to):

  1. The fact that I don’t have a new chandelier.
  2. The fact that I don’t have an old chandelier, or any evidence that there was ever a place to hang one.

But these are minor details when you consider the fact that the ceiling I wish to adorn is covered in The Texture That Must Not Be Named.

001 nursery before

And it would be a real travesty to put all my creative effort into designing and constructing an incredible one-of-a-kind light fixture, only to have the “after” photos marred by that rutted, uneven, unrefined background.  The mission (which of course I accepted) was to install an electrical box for an incredible one-of-a-kind light fixture in a popcorn-free ceiling.

Sarah’s Big Idea: Doin’ things the hard way, every chance I get.Continue Reading

Office Space

And now, the announcement you’ve all been waiting for: what’s Sarah’s next Big Idea?

You know, I’ve heard that the anticipation is the best part.  Let’s test that theory.  Instead of me just straight-up telling you what my next project is, I’m going to make you guess for a bit.  And before you yell, “IT’S THE OFFICE!!” I should tell you: the title of this post is slightly misleading.  Here’s your first real clue:

001 nursery before

If you still think it’s the office, you’re only partially right.  The room up for discussion is the room I currently call the “office.”  Although “storage room for stuff I’m too lazy to organize” might be a more accurate term.  The point is, we don’t use this room much, and its location and size make it better suited to a different function.  Here’s your next clue:

Did you figure it out yet?  Are you even guessing?  I don’t want you to lose interest, so here’s your final clue:

010 Mojo

Are you picking up what I’m putting down here?  I’m going to turn the office…Continue Reading

Rock and Roll (The Boom Boom Room Reveal!)

Get ready for a post full of the most perfectly Pinterest-y pictures I could manage!  Ladies and Gentlemen…I present to you…the greatest rock and roll-inspired music room in the history of cheap DIY makeovers (if only because the competition is pretty minimal)…THE BOOM BOOM ROOM!!!

rock and roll inspired music room Continue Reading

The Hardest Button to Button

You know, I’ve been worried about this blog post for several weeks now.  Because — and here’s the cool part — this project is THE LAST PROJECT in The Boom Boom Room. (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) So I needed the project to turn out well, which on its own was cause for concern, because it’s something I’ve never attempted before and has a reputation for being unfriendly to beginners.  But my real concern was the actual blog post.  Because after nearly 7 months of Boom Boom Room blog posts inspired by rock song titles, I had no. idea. what song I could possibly use for a post about tufting an ottoman.

DIY upholstered ottoman

I was really stretching my imagination to find a rock and roll song that might, just maybe, if I could take some serious liberties with the English language, might actually sound like it had something to do with upholstery.  Let me repeat that: I needed to find a rock song about upholstery.

It would be easier to find Waldo in a candy cane factory.Continue Reading

We Are the Champions

I’ve paid my dues.

Hitting your thumb with a hammer.

Time after time.  I’ve done my sentence…

upholstered piano bench fail

But committed no crime.  And bad mistakes

upholstered piano bench fail

I’ve made a few.  I’ve had my share of sand kicked in my face, but I’ve come through.  And I mean to go on, and on, and on —


DIY leather-wrapped piano benchContinue Reading

Back in Black

Have you ever seen a DIY tutorial and thought, “That’s so cool!  And it sounds so easy!  I bet I could do that!”

I fell into that trap this week.

It’s mostly Jenny‘s fault.  She was all like, “I wrapped a table in leather and studded it with brass nails!”  And I was all like, “That’s so cool!  And it sounds so easy!  I bet I could do that!  All I need now is a piece of furniture to wrap in leather and stud with brass nails!”

So when I looked at the pictures from my last post and felt like the piano was punching me in the eyeballs, I knew I had found a piece of furniture worthy of leather and studs.

Music Room Decor

DIY leather-wrapped piano

Continue Reading

The little desk that could.

How would you like to win a $250 True Value gift card?  Well, I’d love to give you one!  But I need a little help first…

Bob Vila's Thumbs Up

You have to vote for my desk.  Remember my desk?

plywood desk and shelves

plywood scrap desk 3

Here’s the deal:  Bob Vila himself* likes my plywood desk so much that he’s included it in his Thumbs Up competition.

*Probably not actually Bob Vila himself, but one of his employees with exceptional taste in plywood projects.

And the winner of the competition gets a $250 gift card for True Value.  This is where you come in.  See, I’d really like to win that gift card.  But what I’d like EVEN MORE is to win it, and then give it away here on my blog.  Because let’s face it, I can’t win anything without your votes, so you deserve a shot at the prize!

The rules are simple: click here (or the image below, or the image at the top of this post) to check out the projects.  Then vote for your favorite (which will be my desk, obviously, right?).  You can vote once a day, from each device that you have…which actually means that you get multiple votes per day.  And you can keep voting once per device per day, until January 31st.

Bob Vila Thumbs Up

Now, I’ve done a little math here.  I’m guessing that I have, maybe, 100 loyal readers of this blog.  And I know that each of those readers has at least one device on which to access the interwebs, or else they wouldn’t be loyal readers.  Today is January 12th, which leaves 19 days until the end of the month.  If each of those loyal readers pitches in, every day, we’d get 1900 more votes by the end of the month, and BLOW THE COMPETITION OUT OF THE WATER!!

Because if we blow the competition out of the water, I’m going to put the prize — that $250 True Value gift card — up for grabs on this website.  Because there is no other way I could possibly thank you enough for your support, and for coming back here once in a while to read my stories.

Now let’s go do this thing!  Vote today, and vote often!

The Final Countdown

The end is near!  Can you feel it?

Music Room Decor

I’ve moved all of Chris’s junk equipment back into the music room, and I’m running low on rock music references.  Which can only mean one thing:  The Boom Boom Room is nearly complete.

Continue Reading


Once upon a time (last February), I made a totally rad desk.

plywood scrap desk

And the desk turned out so totally rad, that I made some totally rad shelves to go with it.

plywood strip shelves

I had made that desk and shelves because, 11 months ago, I wanted to get rid of an old table, and Chris wouldn’t let me because he wanted a place to sit and a surface to write on in his music room.  And I feared that if I let him use that table in his music room, his tornado-alley style of organizing and decorating would eventually lead the music room to look like this:

storage room with table

And the obsessively compulsive, anally retentive, a-place-for-everything-and-everything-in-its-place control freak in me feared that this would end our marriage.Continue Reading

One Way Out

I’ve been stripping doors again.

how to restore a door

That’s right — less than one year after I found myself in the fetal position, crying and swearing that I would never again strip another door, I have somehow managed to strip and refinish the doors in The Boom Boom Room.  And that means that today’s rock-and-roll inspiration comes from The Allman Brothers.

Because lord, I just can’t refinish another door.Continue Reading