Category: Projects

Wallpaper Backed Bookcase

I have always wanted to apply wallpaper to the back of a bookcase. To be honest, I’ve always been afraid to do it. Not anymore! While my husband was gone for two weeks, I enlisted my handy out of town father to help me finish up some projects. We did a mini redo on this wall in my formal living room. First, I painted the wall behind the fireplace Sandpiper by Martha Stewart. Second, we installed these new sconces that I love from Restoration Hardware Baby. Finally, we tackled the wallpaper project.

I originally bought this wallpaper for Bigs’ nursery.  When I received the map wallpaper from Pottery Barn I realized it was a lot bigger than anticipated. I thought it was going to be one more thing that sat around.

Lightbulb! Our front living room has never been finished since we moved in over four years ago. Our whole house has been a renovation project. So, since I love maps and traveling, I thought why not put the wallpaper up in the back of the bookcases.

So, are you ready? I would highly suggest having help. You could use the extra pair of hands and the moral support so you don’t chicken out! Why not drink some liquid courage while you are at it.

Supplies:

  1. Tupperware bin – large enough to hold enough water to submerge your wallpaper to moisten the glue.
  2. Another container to hold water – this is to wipe down any extra glue that you have.
  3. Wallpaper brush – to smooth out wallpaper once attached so you don’t get any bubbles. I looked everywhere  for one and located it at Sherwin Williams.
  4. Plastic putty knife (wallpaper smoother) – use to hold edges tightly while cutting excess paper with utility knife.
  5. Small retractable utility knife – use this to cut excess wallpaper.
  6. Scissors – to cut wallpaper down closer to size if needed.
  7. Measuring tape – measure, measure, and re measure!
  8. Sponge or towel – dampen this to wipe down excess glue (I didn’t have a sponge so I used a towel)

Note: I didn’t use any sizing as per map wallpaper instructions. Every wallpaper has different application instructions, follow yours.

We had a total of six map panels. After measuring, we knew each bookcase would take two and a half panels. We would lose one whole panel of the map. The problem for me was whether to lose the panel on the left or right. After much deliberation, I preferred to keep the right panel because we have actually travelled to some of those islands and that was more important to me than the design in the bottom left hand corner.

Instructions:

  1. Measure, measure, and measure again.
  2. Roll panel loosely, pattern size in and submerge in water 30-45 seconds.
  3. Upon removing wet wallpaper, make sure all glue has gotten moist. We then opened panel back up and folded top and bottom in to middle, glue side in. This just helps you get the wallpaper to position.
  4. We started with the bottom of the panel and worked up on the bookcase.
  5. Smooth out any bubbles with wallpaper brush. Work the brush in all directions. Tap wallpaper into corners and top with brush.
  6. Use putty knife to hold wallpaper tightly in place on edges and cut excess with utility knife.
  7. Use a damp sponge or towel to lightly remove glue from wallpaper front. Be careful not to shift your paper.

I would liked to have had pictures of every step but with a defiant toddler taking a nap we were under the gun to get it finished!

Repeat process for each panel, making sure they all stay aligned!

I did it! I’m so proud that this is a project I wanted to do and went for it. I love this wall makeover!

For further design inspiration this is what the living room looked like when we bought our house over four years ago. Before moving in we installed hardwoods and painted the walls a khaki color. After moving in, I then painted the oak bookcases and fireplace Westhighland White. Now, I finally switched out the sconces and added the map wallpaper. Amazing that it’s the same room! I hope you’ve enjoyed and I hope I’ve given you some inspiration! If there’s a project you’ve been wanting to tackle, go for it!

Living Room Before we moved in and worked our magic: YUCK!

How To Plant a Vegetable Garden

One of my best memories from childhood was our vegetable garden. There was nothing better than having a plate of fresh vegetables at the dinner table throughout the summer. I am so excited to now share this past time with my children.

Since I have been pregnant for the past few years it’s been hard for me to keep up with my vegetable garden. This is what I’ve gone through this year to get it prepared. This is how to plant a garden that grows like its on steroids.

  •  First, I had to weed my crazy garden. This is what happens when you are busy having babies. You get weeds from hell! It took me over a week and six garbage bags full of weeds to get my garden ready. Hard work pays off I promise!

  • At the beginning of planting season, which will be after your first frost, you’ll need to till up your soil. Over time that dirt settles and gets very hard. This gives it life again.  There are plenty of choices of tillers out there. I purchased a tiller that can be plugged in so I didn’t have to worry about filling it with gasoline and it was less expensive.

  •  After I till the dirt, I get a rake and level it out. Looks so much better doesn’t it?

  • Now for the huge secret:  Mushroom Dirt!
  • I didn’t know about this until about four years ago. This is the secret to making your plants grow like crazy! You can purchase this at Lowes but it’s more expensive. If you can find a farm that will charge you by truck load or per scoop it’s much cheaper. Look at how much darker and richer this dirt looks. It’s magic dirt!

Bigs was in charge of the wheelbarrow. It’s fun to get the kids involved in gardening. It makes them feel helpful and they get to see how things can grow from nothing to something amazing!

Now It’s Time To Plant!

My experience with potted plants is they’re never well watered when I purchase them so this is what I do when I’m ready to plant.

  • I fill a five gallon bucket with water. I hold the plant just under the water. You’ll see bubbles coming out of the dirt of the plant. I hold it under just until the bubbles stop coming out.  This gets the dirt nice and saturated.

  • Dig a hole slightly larger than the plant.
  • Take the plant out of the plastic container and gently separate the roots of the plant.

  •  Place the plant in the hole and press the dirt around the plant.
  • Warning: Mushroom dirt can run a little hot. If you see that the bottom leaves of your plants are getting a little burned you can sprinkle a thin layer of mulch right around the bottom of the plant. I have only had to do this one year.

Don’t Forget Plant Support

This was a great tip I picked up for any plant that vines out, especially cucumbers.

  • If you are short on space in your vegetable garden you can buy a cattle panel. I purchased mine at Lowe’s. You can also find them at farm stores if you have one. They come 16 foot in length. We cut the panel in half with bolt cutters. Since we didn’t need both we shared with a friend.
  • We then took two plant hooks and pressed them firmly into the ground and angle our cattle panel on it’s end.
  • Why is this great for my cucumbers? As the cucumbers grow and vine, I train them to attach and grow up the panel. This accomplishes two things: 1. I don’t take up space in my garden for a plant that needs the vining room. 2. As the cucumber vine grows up the panel, the cucumbers are easily visible for plucking.

This is a close up of the plant hooks supporting the cattle panel.

  •  Don’t forget to support your tomatoes when you plant them. If you wait until they are big it is extremely difficult to support them without damaging the plant. Our supports for the tomatoes actually came as a triangle. We took them apart and made them square to gain some extra space for the tomato plants to grow.

I hope this post has encouraged you to plant your own vegetable garden. I will post updates on my vegetable garden progress.

What I have planted this year: basil, cucumbers, zucchini, yellow squash, and tomatoes (lots of tomatoes).

What are some of your favorite things to plant in your vegetable garden?