DIY Project Parade ~ Dining Room, Faux Fireplace Fix and Banner

It’s been a busy week but I managed something small. We found this old fireplace mantel/surround in the barn when we moved in. I love that it’s original to the house and new I wanted to add it to a wall in our dining room.  I love the flexibility of moving things around, so I boxed it in so it is ‘freestanding’ and not attached permanently to the wall.

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DIY Show Off – Dining Room Transformation

Our Dining Room Makeover:

Our dining room (before) when we bought the house:



See that nasty carpet?

These ugly tiles were on the ceiling.

Then…Russ & stepdad, Butch put up smooth/pretty drywall ceiling! Love it!

Hardwood floors refinished. Here’s a peek of floor:

What we did:
  • Took down old ceiling tiles
  • Installed smooth drywall ceiling
  • Ripped out old filthy carpet
  • Sanded and poly’d hardwood floor
  • New light fixture
  • Painted
Christmas 2010:

Spring 2011…new distressed bamboo floor:

Decorated for fall…

Door before…

Door now…

When we bought the house…


Christmas 2011:


Faux fireplace – pallet shelving:

Seasonal dining room mantel:

DIY vintage mantel


farmhouse mantel - spring

summer mantel:

summer garden mantel

Christmas in the dining room 2012

Christmas dish display

along with a new area rug…

Christmas dining room

The sliding door gets a paint job:

painted door after

See all dining room related posts in the DIY Show Off home tour.
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DIY Holiday Highlights Linky Party ~ Empty Fireplace Card Holder and Vintage Soda Crate Advent Calendar


When I decorated my dining room for Emily Henderson’s Holiday Guide  a few months ago, I added in a couple of easy holiday DIY projects. (Have you checked it out? So many great holiday ideas from DIY, decorating, entertainment, gift suggestions, etc.)

Advent Calendar
An old vintage soda crate has 24 boxes. I turned it on its side, added stamped numbered boxes and let the countdown begin, with sweet little gifts inside…

Favor boxes found in the baking section of Michaels.
Free printables:  Maggie Cat, Family Crafts
Pretty Etsy Options:  Here, here and here
Christmas Mantel
An empty {faux} fireplace with a few covered tension rods and curtain clips became a Christmas card display:

Tension Rod Christmas Card Holder How to: (works for windows or open shelving too!)

Have you been in the Christmas spirit a little early this year?  L
et’s see your holiday DIY posts!


  • You must use the button above in your blog post or side bar to share the linky love.
  • Add your permalink (not your blog url, but your holiday project post url which is the web address that goes directly to your holiday project blog post, not your blog address). Feel free to link a Past Post, just be sure add the DIY Holiday Highlights button to your side bar.
  • Or email your link to and I will add it for you.
  • If you notice your link has disappeared please check the content of your post. Is it holiday related? Add the link back to The DIY Show Off to your post today with a quick note to your readers about the party and try again! 


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I‘m joining the new party over at

Made in a DayTickled Pink at 504 Main good one Sunday's Best Linky Party!


DIY Project Parade

Remember when I found this old mantel in the barn?

 I‘m guessing it’s original to the house. 

It got a good scrubbing and sat propped up against the back wall of our barn patio for a while but I knew I wanted to bring it back into the house. 

But I wanted to be able to move it around, not secure it to the wall. I love to rearrange.  Right now I love having it in the dining room but what if I want it in the family room or a bedroom someday?

Enter True Value Hardware. Three pine 1x4s, a few L-brackets
Aleco 477502 Replacement L-Bracket, Alum, for 4PLT3
and some spray paint to blend it in (I haven’t had the heart to paint the original mantel yet but perhaps someday).

Boxing it makes it stand alone and movable!

I changed my fall mantel up a bit…
< span class="Apple-style-span" style="font-size: x-large;">Now…

 Yarn pumpkins with pinecone stems…

 Fall monogram wreath…

 Pinecone votives on pedestals…

It’ll probably look different before next week’s DIY Project Parade! 🙂

The DIY Show Off
Let’s see what you’ve been up to!

1. You must use the button above (ADD BUTTON HTML CODE FROM SIDE BAR TO YOUR POST) and link to this post to share the linky love.

2.Include your name or blog name and project title. Add your permalink (not your blog url, but your DIY project post url). Feel free to link a Past Post, just invite your readers in a current post with a quick note.

3.Or email your link to and I will add it for you.

4.If you notice your link has disappeared -please add the link back to The DIY Show Off to your post today, a button or a quick note to your readers about the party and try again! I love when everyone participates and readers check out everyone’s links, but I think the return favor of linking back is the nice thing to do so everyone plays fair and enjoys all of the projects and links. Also – this blog party is for DIY projects only. Links not related to DIY will be deleted.

5.  NOW you can “like” the links!  What a fun idea!  Most liked links may be
included in a post of DIY Project Parade highlights later in the week!

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I was one of the bloggers selected by True Value to work on the DIY Squad. I have been compensated for my time commitment to the program as well as my writing about my experience. I have also been compensated for the materials needed for my DIY project. However, my opinions are entirely my own and I have not been paid to publish positive comments.

Electric Fireplace Before and After – DIY at the Wright House!

Happy Wednesday!  1/2 way through the week!  Today’s DIY Show Off feature is Natalie from 
the wright house

Isn’t that header adorable?

First up, Natalie had one of these electric fireplaces.  Red mahogany and glossy:

To see the tutorial of how they transformed it, visit “Electric Fireplace Before and After“.  The result is amazing!

Here she is in all of her gorgeous white and distressed dress:
LOVE LOVE LOVE the barnwood mantel!
Natalie’s DIY and decorating don’t stop there.  Visit The Wright House to see more.  Here’s a few sneak peek from her beautiful home tour
More to drool over…
I want this entire corner in my home…
Natalie…you don’t even need your amazing talent for photography to make your pantry look good…it’s heavenly!
I swear there is TONS more of her beautiful style to see in her home tour – SO.MUCH.INSPIRATION.
I’m so envious of her vintage accents/collections!
and oh my! You must see the kids’ rooms and laundry room. And living room. And kitchen. And – oh just her entire home. I want my house to look like hers when it grows up and gets finished. 
Guess what’s behind this antique window turned mirror/door?
Lucky girl has a mail sorter!
Mudroom full of charm.  Look at that chippy old happy door!
You’re heading over there now to see her DIY talent, right?  I was tempted to include lots more, but you’ll have to visit her (warning:  you’ll need an hour or so because there’s so much to see). Tell her I said “hello”!
Ps. Once you’re done there, (and I hesitate to tell you this because I have to make the time to go there first!) but she’s also got a cute shop!  Don’t empty it before I’ve had a chance to shop too!

DIY at The Pear Tree Cottage

Meet:  Becky from

The Pear Tree Cottage
Becky and her husband are DIYers who are on a mission to change their 1990s home into something they can be proud of.  
Beautiful Dining Room Transformation
This is what their house looked at the first time they saw it with the realtor:
Here is the amazing transformation…
Yes, the open doorway has been changed!  See all of the details here. Walls were knocked down, doorways were patched, new flooring and beautiful cottage decor.  Great job, Becky!
The boy’s room got an awesome makeover too!
Before (previous owner’s things)
After (chalkboard tutorial here) with more to come!
That chalkboard says it all! F~U~N!
And one last thing then you’ll have to visit The Pear Tree Cottage to see more!
Fireplace Before and After
Gorgeous after…
Wait! That can’t be the same room, can it?  It’s magazine-worthy beautiful!  See the fireplace how-to for more details.
Hurray, Becky! You’re doing an amazing job and creating a lovely home!  
Just a reminder about I <3 thrifting day.  Get the details here!

DIO – Do It Ourselves

A two person team are known as DIO’ers.  So cute.  DIO – Do It Ourselves. That’s the name of Lannie’s new blog and I look forward to seeing more from this  DIO duo. They’re awesome!

Here is their fireplace before:

BEFORE – 1970s faux lava stone

AFTER – beautiful creamy white wooden fireplace surround and carrara marble tiles.

Get the details, more pictures and see exactly what they did at

Great chalkboard projects…

Cabinet before:
Cabinet after – so handy and fun:

See the original post at Chalk It Up 

Wingback chair before and after (I am SO eager to do this…it’s gorgeous every time I see it). I love Lannie’s choice of fabric!

Thanks so much for sharing your hard work and creativity, Lannie (and Tony)!  Great job on everything you’re doing!  

Happy Saturday!

First Class Fireplace Makeover

Long slow whistle.  This fireplace transformation is smokin’!  DIY, creative and the best results ever.  Kasey from Beautiful Mess has an amazing transformation to show off!

Here is the fireplace before.  Pretty enough – just having a fireplace is special…

Kasey always wanted shelves on either side so during a two week break, her husband, his brother and dad got to work.
1st day. They had to build a fake wall. He also had to chisel out the crown molding and remove the mantel which was one big piece of slate.

2nd day. Beadboard and more electrical work. 
3rd day.  4 – 42 inch cabinets are used on the bottom for hiding the DVD, Wii and game storage and shelving is built from MDF board. 

4th day. The dry wall is hung between the shelves. They also used dry wall to frame in the fireplace. The mantel is made out of 2×4’s and MDF board. 

The result:

They removed the face plate and spray painted the inside of the fire place black. It isn’t in working order currently, so now it serves as great toy storage.  With all of the books in one spot, the kids request more story time!
Isn’t it gorgeous?  I love the built in shelving and storage.  The tv looks like it belongs there – perfectly framed and I love how the brick work stands out more.  What a beautiful job!  Thank you so much for sharing all of the hard work and steps it took to make a regular fireplace into to a beautiful entertainment and storage wall!
See more at Beautiful Mess!

DIY – Just Between Friends

Jonie at Just Between Friends has some great DIY projects to share! 
These scrap wood shelves are adorable!  Perfect for story time storage or…if no little library is needed, how about organizing magazines?  Super cute!
I love this gift idea…I think I Niski clock might be added to my list of projects.  Personalized gifts and decor are so special!  

Looking for an easy DIY mantel option for your fireplace?  This one is awesome! View her original post here
Fireplace before:
Fireplace after:
There’s still time to make this gorgeous winter wreath before the holidays!  Gorgeous!
There are so many great DIY ideas over at Just Between Friends (including a clever and cute paint-stick snowflake)!  
Thanks for sharing your creativity, Jonie!  Merry Christmas!
This post is brought to you by 

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Fireplace Transformation

Jen from Let’s Make it Ours has my same philosophy when it comes to DIY..

“We just do what we like!”

Here is a look at her fireplace before & after. Her husband built the mantel and they installed the stone together. First, they painted the walls a light greyish beige, painted the brass strips with high-heat black spraypaint and removed the tile and mantel. They also carpetted all the way to the fireplace for a more modern look (after testing the heat for safety).   
Before (with previous owner’s decor).  Still pretty but not Jen’s style.
Her husband built a custom maple mantel and they installed the beautiful white Quartzite tile.  The love the gorgeous tile against the rich brown of the mantel.  I love her photo display too.  Here is the After:
Jen says the Quartzite came in 12″ x 24″ mesh backed sheets, so the installation went pretty well.
Now that her fireplace is finished, she can share pictures of the living room! Can’t wait! More details at Let’s Make it Ours.
What do you think?  Beautiful, isn’t it?

A fellow serial DIY'er…

I want to thank Brandi for sending over her DIY projects.  They are awesome!  This is a long post, but I can’t leave out any details.  I love all of her creativity, DIY talent and her beautiful home.  I think you will too.  Make sure you click the links to visit Brandi’s blog for all of the details and even more DIY eye candy.

Kitchen Before/Afters:
When we looked into buying the home, I was HATING the kitchen.  It was screaming BUILDER GRADE. The kitchen had never been painted and the countertops looked horrible.  And it was begging for a backsplash.
We chose to paint the kitchen orange and do the “antique glazed” look.  We painstakingly painted the cabinets a linen color and then glazed each one of them. We added some crown moulding to the top to give it a more “high end” look.  Then we added hardware to the doors and drawers.  Finally we changed out the countertop and put in a Travertine backsplash on the diagonal.  I couldn’t be happier… well, now that’s not entirely true – I want to change out the white appliances for stainless steel ones – but that will come later on down the road.




Fireplace Before & After:
The night we closed on the house, I immediately started pulling up carpet and smashing the tile surround on the fireplace. 
The hubs built the mantle and we used slate tiles as the surround.  Total cost for the transformation?  $36.00!!!
  As you can also see, we replaced the carpet for hardwood – a steal we found discount supply store for $1.50 sq ft… I am still convinced they had this priced incorrectly! HA!

Beautiful Bathroom vanity Before & After:
This is still a work in progress (its never ending).  But when we bought the home – there was carpet in the master bath.  GROSS!  We hated the vanity… okay we pretty much hated everything about the bathroom. 
We decided to take out the original vanity and put in an antique dresser with a sink on top in its place. 
After months of searching for the PERFECT one, we found this small dresser at Goodwill for $60.00.  We sanded it down, painted the body black and stained the drawers a mahogany color.  We also stained the side insets the same.  We added glass knobs and kept the beautiful brass locks. 
We found the sink and faucet on Overst for $120.  Can’t beat that! 
The hubs had to modify the drawers to fit the plumbing, but I am extremely happy with the way it turned out! 
We also ripped out the carpet and put in black and white tile.  Now it has an antique feel to the bathroom.  I am loving how it turned out!!




Thank you for sharing all of your beautiful DIY projects, Brandi. Everything you touch turns to gold! lol I love the barnwood shelves, the kitchen is amazing, the bathroom might still be a work in progress to you but it’s gorgeous! Congratulations on doing fantastic work!

Decorating Obsessed – Wall Stenciling & Fireplace Makeover

Ashley at Decorating Obsessed has been busy!  She won a stencil at Cutting Edge Stencils and chose the houndstooth pattern.  She did an amazing job.  I love houndstooth and the colors she chose are my favorites.  AND she gave her fireplace a beautiful makeover too!  Here are her posts:!
The houndstooth wall is done! Thank god.

Was it the most tedious process ever? Yes. Do I love it and find it totally worth it? Definitely.

When I won a stencil from Cutting Edge Stencils thanks to DIY Showoff’s giveaway, I knew right away houndstooth was the only way for me to go. I was nervous that the stencil would be a single houndstooth, so I was thrilled to discover how large the stencil was when I got it in the mail.

My biggest issue with the stencil was there was no way to keep the middle part flat against the wall. The instructions said to paint with a sponge roller –but not only would that get messy but I would not get the crisp lines I was wanting.

So I decided to use the stencil to trace the pattern onto the wall and then tape everything off. Yep, the project I envisioned to take me a day took me 4 weeks.

Some readers wanted to know how I fly through so many audio books last month – paint a houndstooth wall and you’ll figure it out too. ☺

Honestly though, it wasn’t as bad as it sounds, once I figured out a system. I got the majority of the project done over 3 Sundays, so I don’t feel as thou

gh I was slaving away or anything.

Considering the stencil was free, I only spent $18 and that was on painter’s tape. I used leftover paint from my office stripes.


I’m blogging and drinking wine. You have been warned.

I wanted to spare the length of the previous post, and do all the talky talky in this post.

I never hated my fireplace, but I never liked it. It was this thought right there that made me take the plunge.


My fireplace was dirty. There was grout that would just fall off if you looked at it the wrong way. Brick is tricky like that, because it takes more work than running a vacuum over it (although, don’t worry, you have to do that too).

1. Use sandpaper. You aren’t using sandpaper to rough up the brick, you are using the sandpaper to get all the crap out. During this process, I recommend focusing mainly on the grout regions.

2. Vacuum. Now it’s time to vacuum, to get all the loose nasty out.

3. Wipe down. I used several damp paper towels over it, to further clean it.

I decided to use the same white paint I have been using everywhere else in my house – Ralph Lauren’s Frost in semi-gloss. I wanted to stick with semi-gloss, because the brick would suck up a lot of the shine to it and it would be easier to clean.

The brick on my fireplace is very textured and rough, because of this I didn’t use a primer. But if your brick is of a smoother quality I would recommend one.

Once I was done painting, I moved on to caulking bricks that were cracked.

Addressing the screen was the scariest part of this project for me. I decided to take my friend Leslie’s advice and spray paint everything indoors, like she did on hers.

When picking a spray paint – make sure you are using one that is heat resistant. Sure, it doesn’t come in as many fancy colors, but it also doesn’t set your house on fire. (Food for thought).

Here’s my screen all taped off and ready to go:

Unfortunately, I’m a moron and got the spray paint on my feet and neglected to realize it. And of course I walked around the family room, leaving a nice film of spray paint dust everywhere. So, if you are wanting to spray paint indoors – stay on your plastic tarp.

While it’s might be hard to tell in this photo, the shelves looked terrible once the fireplace went white. Like everywhere else in the house, the previous homeowners were a fan of beige with a yellow tint. When you pair this with white, the beige transforms into a pastel yellow.

Once the shelves went white, I painted the background a different color for a pop.


Ashley – you’re so patient and so talented!  The houndstooth looks amazing! I love the fireplace too!  LOVE the bricks painted white and the new black instead of brass.  It looks perfect with the shelving!  You did a fantastic job – what a big beautiful improvement/focal point!  Thanks for sharing your hard work and DIY talent!  Click her blog button above to see more of her beautiful home!
Niski update – I think we’re getting into a routine!  Last night she slept in a crate for the first time ever (well, she slept in a crate at the hospital.  I don’t think I told you about the time before blogging that she swallowed a thumb tack, did I?  Surgery and all better.  Scary then but we laugh now and joke that they should have put a zipper where her long scar on her tummy is.)  Anyway – she slept in the crate all night.  I wasn’t sure how she’d do since she’s used to 24/7 access to her potty so I put a diaper on her just in case.  I woke up this morning and she did just fine.  She even showed a little defiance.  Like “I’d don’t pee the bed and I don’t need a diaper” – she tore it off.   So, things are going well.  She is back in her cart for the day and currently sitting outside sunning herself. Thank you for your prayers and comments.  You helped keep me sane and have hope the past few days.  
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Perfect Timing for a Fireplace Makeover

Leah at Storybook Ranch has a wonderful DIY project that makes me warm just looking at it. She gave her fireplace a makeover. It’s a big improvement. Here is her post:

Here’s the before: dull, drab, confused After cleaning this baby out, I sprayed the inside with Rust-Oleum, high heat spray paint. We don’t plan on using the fireplace for heat. But, should we want to throw a log on for fun, hopefully this will prevent the fireplace from catching on fire.
This thing was so ugly, I was very close to putting it to the curb. As a matter of fact, it sat by the trash can for 5 days. Until I remembered I had some leftover spray paint…The transformation is unbelievable. My husband couldn’t believe it was the same piece

I had planned on pulling up the dirtiest carpet in the world in front of the fireplace, but found some crumbling asbestos tiles underneath.

This was one of the most cost effective transformations I’ve done in my home. All it took was a little primer & paint. It makes such a difference and really brightened things up.

Great job Leah! Thanks for sharing! It looks so fresh and so much prettier! Any tips for talking Mr. DIY into painting brick? He’s not on board with my plans. 🙁

She has a tutorial for the mirror she made above the fireplace too. Go HERE for more details!


Those sunburst mirrors are another reminder that I’m suffering sunshine withdrawal. Don’t tell me if you’re living in a warm climate! I’m freezing and we have about a foot of snow. I’m ready to snuggle back under the covers until I see my shadow or is that “don’t” see my shadow? Whichever one brings spring closer.

Mr. DIY is out of commission with some back pain recently. I’m a 1-person DIY team for the time being. Anyway, I had the brilliant idea to attempt to fire up the wood stove myself. It’s in the basement (another future DIY project) and connected to our duct work and sits directly below my office. Nice and toasty when the fire is going. It didn’t work out though. I filled 3 stories of our home with smoke. Ooops.

Best to stick to the gas furnace for now and dream about an upcoming vacation in the works for March. It’s Mr. DIY’s birthday gift to me. I‘m considering Playa del Carmen, Mexico (my favorite place) or Aruba or even a warm U.S. city (I need help with that one. Booking a resort vacation is so much easier or I’m maybe I’m just lazy).

Giveaway Alert!
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