Finally, Chalk Paint!

Ok, at this point in the world PP (that’s ‘Post Pinterest’), everyone knows about Chalk Paint.  There was a time when I was super excited about it – sucked into the trend.  I even went and bought fixings to make my own chalk paint.  Because I’m a *true* DIYer, none of that store-bought nonsense! *rolls eyes*

REALITY CHECK my friends.  The plaster of paris, wax, and paint I had for the project sat.  And sat.  And 2 years.  Yes, TWO YEARS later, they still sat on a shelf in our very tiny utility closet.  Total waste!  I had planned to paint the table you can see in this post but chickened out.

Intercom Art @ BandBBuildAlife.comHowever, while walking the aisles of Michael’s, I came across this bad boy…Plaid Folk Art Home Decor Chalk in Oasis

Chalk Paint
Plaid Folk Art Home Decor Chalk in Oasis

The directions were straight forward – because, duh, it’s chalk paint.  SLATHER ON. REPEAT.  NOW WAX.  Sound’s simple, right?  But now, what to paint….  We’ve been (and by ‘we’ I mean I) discussing a new desk for a LONG time.  But We wanted a simpler desk… which meant that we’d have to be more creative about storage.  And also meant that the Printer would not be allowed to live on the desk.  So I was on a quest for a printer-stand-in, when I found this beauty at a goodwill for under $10 after discounts.

Printer Stand for Desk at BandBBuildALife.comYes, friends, check out that beautiful 70’s flower contact paper!  And the exciting buff-bland-office paint job!  I mean, I can’t believe this was ever cast off! (Sarcasm font)

In all seriousness, this baby was the PERFECT size for the space I was working with, and it was adjustable for better height needs.  It just needed a little love first.  Like removing those flowers!

peeling contact paper for printer stand for Desk peeling contact paper for printer stand for DeskUnfortunately, once the contact paper began to peel, it was immediately apparent there was some rust issues going on.  Though a new layer of contact paper would take care of it, I was worried it would still not cover as well.  So before I zapped the top with a quick coat of spray paint, I gave the entire piece a good scrubbing with some steel wool to buff off as much rust and poor texture as possible,

steel wool scrubbing printer stand for desk

This step, though wildly messy (especially living in a place without a hose!) is really critical if you want your contact paper to lay flat and smooth, and it does really help the chalk paint too.

Once the steel wool was done, it was time for a little spray paint.


I decided on spray paint for the top and not to just chalk paint the entire piece as I planned to replace the old contact paper with a new paper, one that was lighter in color and I didn’t want the color of the chalk paint to show through.

Once these steps were done, it was just down to painting!  I decided to use a foam brush as I was painting metal and feared a regular brush would leave too many brush marks, and because there weren’t a lot of nooks and crannies I’d need to fill with paint which would require bristles.

Oh, and PRO TIP:  If you have hardware like the screws pictured below that you don’t want to paint, BUT if you remove them the whole thing will fall apart, simply loosen them enough to get your brush beneath them, but not so far that the piece will fall apart.  Easy peasy!


Painting the entire piece took about an hour as I had to wait for sides to dry enough to be able to rotate and paint the next exposed surfaces.  But after the first coat it looked like this:

using chalk paint to paint metal surface of printer stand for desk

After one coat, there’s clearly some portions that were a bit thin.  Overall though it was a coverage to be expected after 1 coat.  And after 1 coat she looked like this:

Chalk Painted Metal Printer Stand

Ok, this is also an ‘after’ shot with the wax I used too.  You can pick it up here.  The suggested application is with a brush…. but I wasn’t going back out to buy something else after I was finally on a roll with this project.  So instead I grabbed an old kitchen rag and got to buffin’.  This portion of the process proved to require a much greater deal of elbow grease than expected.


In the end, though I do really like the texture and the coverage of the Chalk Paint, I’d say the wax step was a pain in the bum.  I’d rather have zapped the whole deal with some spray paint and had been done with it.  But you live and learn, right?

More later this week on where this printer stand actually ends up.  Trust me, the finished office is BEAUTIFUL and I am THRILLED to have it — and, well, to have actually finished a project!

Have you been dragging your feet on any projects lately?

~ Beth

Key Ring Reminder – LIFE HACK

You know all of those BuzzFeed articles with amazing Life Hacks that you just read and can’t help but *facepalm* because you can’t believe you didn’t think of it before?  Something so SIMPLE.  So OBVIOUS.

Well.  I HAVE ONE.

Behold, the Key Ring Reminder

Key Ring Reminder - Life Hack from

I can’t tell you how many times I have had a letter to be mailed and drove right by the box on my way out of work.  Or thought ahead to make lunch for the week – only to forget my lunchbox on my desk?

In this modern world of gadgets and email (Outlook email pop-ups, I’m lookin’ at you) and calendars for calendars, you can’t help but develop a serious case of OFFICE-A-D-D sometimes.   And all of those Outlook reminders, pop-ups on my phone, etc — I’ve been conditioned to ignore them!

But at the end of the day, it’s hard to ignore a big pink note that wasn’t there on your keys before.

Key Ring Reminder - Life Hack from

The texture of the paper is different from your keys, the bright color is eye catching, and the application of this method could NOT be easier!

Key Ring Reminder - Life Hack from

Get yourself a binder clip (my FAVORITE office supply).  Yup.  Any size that works with your keys.  This one is a little 1/4 incher, but a 1/2 inch will still work without being bulky.

Key Ring Reminder - Life Hack from Ok, now put the binder clip on your keyring.  Either thread it ’round the ring like you do your keys, or cheat and remove one arm from the clip, then replace it with the ring inside.

Now, clip your notes, your quick grociery list, whatever it is your ADD brain can’t seem to grasp for the moment and go forth as a more productive member of society.  You rock!

~ Beth

Key Ring Reminder - Life Hack from
You should PIN this awesome Key Ring Reminder – Life Hack from

Vintage Mason Jar – SCORE

I mentioned it briefly in yesterday’s post.  While strolling the aisles of random cast-off items at my favorite Goodwill, I found these puppies, just sitting there on the shelf.

Decorating with Yellow at BandBBuildALife.comThey weren’t specially marked.  Just sitting in the midst of the glassware, minding their own business.

You better believe I swooped in, tore them from their shelf, raised them above my head and jumped up and down like a weirdo.  In public.  No big deal.

antique blue mason jar thrifting at

The two larger are the slightest hue of green, while the smaller is clearly showing that bluish teal tint that they’re so famous for in Blog land these days.  And all three of these.  For a whopping total of $5.  FIVE DOLLARS.  INSANE.

antique blue mason jar thrifting at

For now they’ve arrived at their home on the top shelf of our Billy bookcase next to our new TV and Hemnes.  I like how they add some character to an otherwise vanilla shelf of reversed paperbacks.  (A handy way to make a uniform looking space out of all those beach reads you will ‘eventually’ get to reading…)

antique blue mason jar thrifting at

So there you have it, a bonus post this week!  CRAZY.

Maybe I’ll make this a habit again.  Hmmm…

~ Beth

You Light Up My Life ~ Bookshelf Lights

We’re still all aglow from our recent Engagement – no date set just yet, but we’re getting there with the wedding planning.  So much to think about!

In the meantime, this fabulous update occurred (actually back in February, but who’s counting?)

Bookshelf Lamps ikea chevron wrapped cord spotlights from

For Valentine’s Day, we actually celebrated at Ikea of all places.  Our local store hosted a special event including salmon dinner and a bottle of bubbly for two, plus a wine and chocolate tasting in the bedroom department.  All for $12.  Total.  For both of us.  It was a no-brainer!

Ikea Dinner Valentine at Ikea Dinner Valentine at

…I mean, it’s Ikea.  So, it wasn’t going to be a Five Star rated Salmon dinner.  But it WAS super delicious, especially those green puff things at the top of the plate!

As we were celebrating the holiday at Ikea, we decided to gift each other from the store.   We had been discussing for a while how dark the side of the room with the bookshelf was, and I had even been looking around at potential small shelf lamps that would be more ambient.

Then Ikea released these puppies, the RANARP (sounds derpy, no?), and I knew they had to be ours.

Bookshelf Lamps ikea chevron wrapped cord spotlights from

They’re this perfect shade of white – not 100% pure, but not creamy either.  And the brassy colored hardware has a fantastic contrast, plus the cord!  Is it weird to be in love with a cord?

Bookshelf Lamps ikea chevron wrapped cord spotlights from

Black and white chevron!  A fabric wrapped cord just makes these so new-vintage if that makes sense.

Bookshelf Lamps ikea chevron wrapped cord spotlights from BandBBuildALife.comAssembly was relatively simple, and the whole addition took a total of about 15 minutes.  There are two options, either you can clip them on to the shelf like we have done here, or add an additional piece that makes the clips into a handy hinge allowing you to mount them to the wall and make them into wall lights that swivel.  Would be a cute look for over a bed!

Bookshelf Lamps ikea chevron wrapped cord spotlights from

They look FANTASTIC, and tie in our white bookshelf frame (bottom right), white Ampersand bookend, and a few other white accents too.

In the background of the above photo, you’ll also see a slight update for summer – YELLOW.

Decorating with Yellow at BandBBuildALife.comDecorating with Yellow at

I picked up a few sprigs of faux flowers – the ranunculus are my favorite by far (hmmm…wedding flower maybe?).  I liked the yellow with the milk glass.  And the lantern!

Decorating with Yellow at

This was another find at Ikea.  I just loved how cheery it looked in yellow.  I mean, it’s just begging to be used on a table at a dinner party or something, isn’t it?

Decorating with Yellow at

And of course, when you think yellow, you can’t help but have lemons come to mind.  A few vase filler lemons are strewn about, including in these vintage mason jars I scored at Goodwill for a total of $5 for all three!  WOOHOO!

So now we’re living the enlightened life and making lemonade with it.  All in all, I’m diggin’ it.

Have you ever found something and just had to decorate around it?

~ Beth

P.S. — If you read this through a reader, you may have noticed some weird ADD with our watermark on photos.  That’s because some of these were edited in February, and some just before posting this — and we’ve recently undergone an over-haul on the blog.  So stop by the home page and take a look around!  :)

adding easy Bookshelf Lighting from IKEA at

Good Housekeeping FEATURE?!?!

We get fun bumps here and there to the blog.  Usually it’s from Pinterest.  Or our one EPIC bump care of my favorite bloggers, John & Sherry of Young House Love, when we met them on their book tour and Bill drew them a castle.  But I just realized…. WE WERE FEATURED.  ON THE HOME  DECORATING PAGE.  OF GOODHOUSEKEEPINGOMG! featured on Good Housekeeping!

The article is a fun feature on unique places to hang art.  Like behind a toilet.  Wouldn’t have thought of that, but I love how Poppytalk did it!

Via Poppytalk


After the immediate HOLYCOW shock wore off, I hit the thumbnail version of the gallery to take a look at our little bookshelf art project featured there… featured on Good Housekeeping!

And then I realized I recognized that photo two thumbnails over from ours…. THAT’S YOUNG HOUSE LOVE! featured on Good Housekeeping!

Not only have we been included in an awesome gallery like this on Good Housekeeping, BUT WE’VE BEEN FEATURED WITH MY BLOGGING HEROS.  AHHHHH! *Fangirling*

There are a good number of great ideas on artwork displaying in the gallery, so stop on over and take a look here! (we’re slide 5)

~ Beth

We’re Engaged!

Oh My Gawd You Guys! Beth and Bill Get Engaged,

Bill popped the question on the top deck of a Gateway Clipper sightseeing cruise while coasting down the Monongahela River.  He waited just until we reached the point where the Mon & the Allegheny Rivers join to become the Ohio, at The Point, to propose.


Always one to get ‘to the point’, he got down on one knee and asked.

What had started out as a dreary, humid, dark-cloud-thunderstorm kinda day cleared just before our moment, and by the time we had reached the dock at the end of our cruise the sun was even shining. Beth and Bill Get Engaged

We are THRILLED to be taking this next step as we continue to ‘Build a Life’ together!

…and hopefully, this means more (or at least somewhat regular) posts to share! :)

~ Beth


This One Time, I Illustrated a Children’s Book

HI! *echoesthroughouttheemptyness*

It’s been a while.  But rather than give excuses, let’s just get to it then, shall we?

Everyone’s family has traditions, especially around the holidays.  For my family, one of those traditions was the telling of the story of Meriweather the Elf.

Here my Grandmother tells the story to us kids circa 1992
Here my Grandmother tells the story to us kids circa 1992

Ages ago, my mother had typed up the story and even submitted it to a magazine or two, but it never got anywhere. The gist of the story is that Santa has a helper, a special elf named Meriweather who keeps watch and helps Santa know who’s been naughty or nice. Sound familiar? Yes, like that creepy Elf on the Shelf.  Only, a heartwarming family tradition.  Until the Shelfish guy hit big-box bookstores everywhere.

Meriweather The Elf The Original Elf on the Shelf childrens book at BandBBuildALife.comFor years.  YEARS.  I’m talking, from the time I first decided to actually make the story into a book and sketched the first version of Meriweather, to the time the freshly inked pages reached my doorstep, was a little over 9 YEARS.  It’s a wonder we’ve ever completed a DIY project to share with you here.

So yes, for years I had been kicking the idea around of creating a book from the original manuscript my Mother had copied for me.  I had an idea of what I wanted Meriweather to look like, and had gotten as far as creating a really rough draft version of the book that my Sister helped print right before Christmas one year.  But with only about half the drawings completed, it just wasn’t going to cut the ‘family heirloom’ quality I had in mind.

Meriweather The Elf The Original Elf on the Shelf childrens book at BandBBuildALife.comFast forward to my trip to Europe with my best friends that I shared with you last year.  A trip like that?  You’re going to take a lot of pictures.  So naturally I wanted a way to enjoy them outside of Facebook.  Enter Shutterfly into the equation.

I used shutterfly to illustrate and publish my own DIY children's book at

I created a fantastic photobook with all my favorite images from the trip, and even added a handy pocket to the inside cover for ticket stubs and other scraps of the trip.  It worked out so well, I got to thinking — what if I just use full-page sized images to create the book?

So I got to drawing the rest of the illustrations needed for the story to be fully told!

I used shutterfly to illustrate and publish my own DIY children's book at

My preferred method of illustration for this project was with ink for the line drawings followed by pigment from my favorite, Prisma colored pencils, smoothed with the blender pencil.

I used shutterfly to illustrate and publish my own DIY children's book at

Then I scanned the images in and cleaned them up a bit, and decided on my basic layout.  I chose to do an 8×11 size book, and Shutterfly even has handy guides and details for digital scrapbooking that worked great for this project, so I knew exactly the dimensions, resolution, and color codes to use.

I used shutterfly to illustrate and publish my own DIY children's book at

Once I had all the graphics completed, it was time to add in the story.  The key really was to use the text boxes within Shutterfly’s editing tool instead of uploading an image with text already on it.  Though it did come out ok, the text was much more crisp using the editor.  And an excellent feature that I used to help edit content and test layout quality was the ability to download the book as a PDF.  It does have a watermark on it (they do want to make money afterall) but it allowed me to have paper in hand to mark up where I wanted changes and then track them as I made the fixes. (see the binder clipped paper in the image 3 above)

I used shutterfly to illustrate and publish my own DIY children's book at BandBBuildALife.comI had intended to finish the book in time for Christmas last year to give to my Mother, Aunt and Sister, and I had finished with only 3 days left within the guaranteed-by-christmas deadline.  Having had an excellent experience before with their customer service, I decided to just make the jump and ordered 4 books at once and hoped they’d come out well.

I used shutterfly to illustrate and publish my own DIY children's book at BandBBuildALife.comThe day my happy orange package arrived, I was THRILLED.  I tore it open and breathed in that freshly-inked scent, and then nervously opened the perfectly sealed copy I ordered for myself.  And it was Fantastic!

I used shutterfly to illustrate and publish my own DIY children's book at BandBBuildALife.comThe pages printed perfectly, the text layed out just as I had painstakingly planned it.  And it arrived just in time to be wrapped and brought home for the holiday.

And I could actually say that I had been [self] PUBLISHED.

I used shutterfly to illustrate and publish my own DIY children's book at BandBBuildALife.comReally, the only thing I’d have changed, was the spine of the book itself.  The template called for a fairly wide design, and I assumed that meant that’s how wide it would print, but it also accounted for the wrap around the edges to the cover.

Meriweather The Elf The Original Elf on the Shelf childrens book at   So on the front cover, you actually see a bit of the edging from the title down the spine wrapping around.  Not a big deal really though.

So there you have it, I am now a published illustrator.

Have you ever had an idea for a book?

~ Beth


Two twenty-somethings navigating young love through their adventures in DIY, restoration and travel.

Catherine Digman

writer & visual artist

At the Corner of Happy and Harried

A slice of my commonly uncommon life

Places Unknown

Dmitrii Lezine's fine art photography, travel photography, free HDR Tutorial, photography tips, camera reviews and photo editing software.

The Culture Monk

Coffee & Conversation - The Periphrastic Mind of Kenneth Justice


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 423 other followers

%d bloggers like this: