DIY Faux Shiplap Wall

I love the look of shiplap. However, every time I see Joanna Gaines, and so many designers, transform some magical, old home the color choice always seems to be white or light grey. Although both would have looked fine in my space, it just wasn’t quite the vibe I was going for. Especially after staring at beige walls all winter.

My remedy for walls that are so beige? Make them BLACK. Or any color really.

I chose black for this project because the wall is directly opposite the kitchen, which has black appliances. That, paired with the darker wood tones in the flooring and counter tops, felt like an easy way to bring contrast to a part of the room that felt a bit out of place.

The main concern plenty of people had when I shared my brilliant design choice was that the room would end up feeling too small or dark. However, I was confident that wouldn’t be a problem — it’s very open and there’s plenty of natural light.

Supplies

  • Plywood – cut into 8″ boards (this wall required 3 sheets of plywood)
  • Brads and brad nailer
  • Saw – We used a jigsaw
  • Sander/Sand paper – may not be necessary, but we had a weird, tiny gap about the door it came in handy for getting just the right size boards for
  • Nickels, quarters, or tile spacers
  • Paint of your choice
  • Painting supplies – roller and 2-3″ brush should work

Instructions

We had the lumberyard cut our sheets into the 8-inch boards for us before bringing them home.

Because my home is a manufactured home, the walls are VOG panels. I hate them, and have been planning to paint, cover, or otherwise replace them since Day 1. Therefore, these instructions omit finding and marking where your studs are because they’re easily denoted.

  1. Remove battens from your wall. This will serve as demarcation for where your studs are. If you have drywall, use a stud finder to locate and mark studs for hanging.
  2. Paint your wall — or at least paint strips, 8 inches apart on your wall and let dry before installing the plywood boards. (I promise it will make life 10,000 times easier because we didn’t do this and it’s tedious to go back and try to paint all the cracks. Doable but time-consuming!)
  3. Prime your boards with one coat of paint, making sure to cover the edges well, and let dry.
  4. While paint is drying, measure your wall from the corner to any door/window frame you’ll be working around. Note: We did not remove any trim or molding before installation.
  5. Hang your first board by placing brads at the top, center, and bottom at each stud. If there’s some give or bounce between these, simply add a brad or two to make it more flush with the wall. We experienced this most on the longer boards, so most of them got an extra fastening between each section.
  6. Hang next board. Place spacer of choice — we used quarters — between your first board and the top of the next one to create the shiplap look. Push bottom board up to hold spacer in place tightly and fasten to the wall with brads.
  7. Continue hanging boards, using spacers and brads.

You can purchase shiplap at most home improvement stores, like Menard’s or Home Depot, but it can get kind of pricey…especially if you’re covering a large wall, like I was. So rather than spend hundreds of dollars to revamp this space, we only spent about $100 on plywood, brads, paint, and painting supplies.

I don’t yet own any tools beyond pliers, screwdrivers, and a hammer, so borrowed a sander (which we barely used), saw, and brad nailer from my parents. And enlisted them for a little help! Long boards definitely require more than two hands to hold them up steadily to keep the spacers in place, and having someone around just usually makes the process more enjoyable.

I love how it turned out and, for about a week afterward, found myself just staring into the dining area dreamily. Everyone who was skeptical has come through with this review: It looks good, and I like it a lot more than I thought I would!

So, that means my first DIY home project goes in the books as a success.

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Making a Dream Reality

When I reinvigorated this blog, I was focusing on minimalism, self-sufficiency, and whatever other topics that might interest me. I didn’t want a super-specific niche, and I still don’t. But since that first post about how I’d found an interest in minimalism and homesteading, some — well, quite a few — things have changed.

  • I’ve since moved back to rural Missouri which, to be entirely, honest wasn’t something I ever expected — at least not this early in life.
  • I bought a house — a manufactured home, which may not be the “ideal,” but it’s cute and upgrade-able. There have already been some steps to customize it, to my personal style that have been great.
  • All the homesteading goals and dreams now rely on me, a single, 30-something woman with no real self-sufficiency skills to speak of. Granted, I do have the advice of friends and family, plus all of the Internet to consult when needed.

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mental health: a story

It’s an adventure, living with mental health issues. Some days are great. Others are terrible. Most are pretty, what I like to call, meh.

You find a new “normal” and start to understand what your baseline is. What elevates it. What depresses it. What keeps it stable.

Some days you feel something you’ve never felt before—both good and less than enjoyable varieties. It can be confusing and frustrating. But, you can choose to be mad about it all the time or … accept it.

Learning to live with depression and anxiety is a journey, and one I’m still very much on. Over the past 10+ years, I’ve learned quite a bit about myself and my mental health. Recently, I’ve been using what I’ve learned to continue learning. To find new, healthy ways to cope, because, sometimes, when things are good for an extended period of time, I forget how to take care of myself in the darker times. And sometimes the things that used to work, don’t work as well (or at all) anymore.

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Fall Hair Care: Natural Ways to Keep Hair Healthy

I got my first, ever, ipsy bag! I don’t wear make-up daily or regularly, so I was glad that it wasn’t all foundations, concealers and such. I also appreciate that each user can customize their preferences to ensure, every month, they get items they’re most likely to use.

My October Glam Bag Goodies:

  • Essence Satin Touch Blush
  • Nail Medic Charcoal-Infused Polish from Pretty Woman NYC
  • MDM Flow Liquid Lipstick in Retro
  • IT Cosmetics Bye Bye Pores Pressed Finishing Powder
  • Neon & Co Treatment Oil

Of these bad boys, I’m most excited about the Neon & Co. Treatment Oil because fall has arrived and winter will be here before we know it, which means it’s time to make some changes to my hair care routine.

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Painted Succulent Pots

Flower and plant pots are expensive! Your know the ones.

I’d be willing to bet that they litter your Instagram feed, filled with lush hanging plants, succulents, and ivy.

These pots, the ones we envision populating our various urban jungles aren’t cheap. But, if like most millennials, you’re on a budget or have other places your hard-earned dollars need to go, splurging on that beautifully glazed, locally made pot you saw at the art fair probably isn’t realistic. That, however, doesn’t mean you have to give up your dream of splendid indoor plants!

Decorate basic terracotta pots to your own tastes! It’s a perfect way to save a few dollars and let your creative side shine; small pots are around $1-2/each and are just the right size for starting herbs and succulents.

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  1. Buy a plain, terracotta pot.
  2. Choose your paint colors. I used acrylic paints we already had from another arts and crafts night.
  3. If you want a simple geometric design as shown above, layout with masking tape. If your design is more detailed or abstract, free-hand may be the better option. You can also free-hand geo designs, if you want, the tape just ensures clean lines.
  4. Paint your pot and let air dry. It shouldn’t take too long since the pots are slightly porous, but do make sure they’re fully dry before you begin planting!
  5. Fill with dirt and plant your chosen green baby.

Last month, The Washington Post explored why so many millennials are filling their homes with houseplants. In part, there’s been a growing interest in gardening among our generation, however, most of us live in urban environments or in homes with little-to-no space to achieve all our gardening goals. Enter indoor plants.

For me, keeping a few philodendrons, succulents and cacti help satisfy my desire to garden and hone my green thumb. We’ve maintained balcony gardens in the past, but no longer have a balcony. Soon, we’ll be adding herbs to our windowsills and shelves. I’d love to add a fiddle-leaf fig to a corner by the window and English ivy in the bathroom.

Even if gardening isn’t your interest, indoor plants add color, life and vibrancy to any space. Apartment dwellers can break up the monotonous white walls with splashes of green. Plus, they can help purify air and have been shown to improve mood, concentration and productivity.

The Benefits of Baths

Or, Why You Should Take More Baths.

Bathing has a looong history, and us human folk have been enjoying it all along. However, ancient civilizations seemed much more prone to indulge in the relaxing, sometimes social, habit than we are.

Perhaps there was more leisure time available without the 40+ hour work week, television and internet. People weren’t constantly engaged in some other, seemingly more important activity to put off their bathing ritual. But whether it’s plunging into cool water after hitting the sauna, swimming in the ocean or filling up the tub at home, baths serve us in more ways than just the relaxing, quiet, me-time we’ve come to crave.

Reduce Pain and Muscle Aches

Cramps included!

Similar to using a heating pad or Icy-Hot and other “heating” pain relief creams, a hot bath may be just the ticket to squelching aches and pains. A cool bath, on the other hand, can help reduce the lactic acid build-up to speed recovery time following intense work-outs.

You can also ease chronic pain associated with arthritis, fibromyalgia and other inflammatory-induced conditions by soaking in a salt bath (use Epsom or your favorite natural salt). Adding salt reduces swelling and has been used since Ancient Greece to relieve pain.

Heart and Digestive Health

Although a piping hot bath isn’t recommended and can add more strain to the heart, a warm, soothing temperature increases heart rate which can improve blood circulation throughout the body. It may also help lower blood pressure and keep your heart functioning well. The improved circulation will also aid with proper digestion!

Alleviate Cold Symptoms

As we head into cooler months, its bound to happen: cold and flu season.

Warms baths do more than improve blood flow, they also allow the blood to become more oxygenated as you relax and breathe deeply, inhaling steam. This can aid in ridding your body of illness-causing bacteria, clear sinus and chest congestion while, also, boosting immunity.

Pamper Your Skin

Exposure to water and steam can be cleansing and moisturizing for the entire body. Hot or warm water opens our pores and induces sweating, allowing the body to naturally cleanse itself. Plus, the steam and contact with water is a great way to hydrate skin and hair!

In a recent study published in Temperature, researchers found that an hour-long soak in a hot bath resulted in similar effects as an hour of moderate exercise. For anyone unable to exercise regularly or with certain chronic illnesses, such as type II diabetes or chronic inflammation, this could be huge!

Featured image by StockSnap/Pixabay.

His & Hers: 3 Easy Recipes

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m a vegetarian but my partner definitely is not. This means that our dinner selections are generally selected based on my dietary choices. More often than not, he’s perfectly content with eating my vegetarian or vegan concoctions (and likes them!). However, there are times when he’d like to have a little animal protein in his meal.

I find most recipes pretty easy to make veg-friendly (vegetarian/vegan). But over the past five years, his meaty preference has resulted in seeking out recipes and meals that are easy to make His&Hers versions of. What determines their ease?

  • No extra time required to, essentially, make two meals.
  • How many ingredients we can both use (aka: affordability).
  • Accessibility of necessary kitchen tools, for both of us.

Go-To His & Hers Recipes

  1. TACOS. Who doesn’t love tacos? No one in their right mind! They’re super-versatile, easy to prepare and cheap. All qualities we look for. Most of the time, he’ll make a chicken or beef topping, while I prepare lentils, rice or beans for myself. Sometimes we keep things standard with tortillas. Other times we opt for taco “boats” with romaine lettuce leaves in place of the tortillas.
  2. PIZZA. Another super-versatile recipe with endless topping combinations. When we order pizza, my go-to is pineapple or mushroom with banana pepper; his is pepperoni and black olive. Homemade pizza is infinitely cheaper–and probably healthier–than Domino’s and Pizza Hut, and allows you to add as many flavors as you want. When we go for pizza, we make one crust: half with pepperoni, half without.
  3. BURGERS. My go-to recipe: black bean burgers. And he likes those just fine but sometimes wants a real cheeseburger. So, obviously, he gets hamburger and makes that.
Featured image via Pixabay.