The details are in the decals

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Two of the spots I sprinkled my birdies at.

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I put two birdies resting on my sign.


This was my first attempt at decals. I wasn’t happy with this, so I decided to spread my birds all over the house.

I had been wanting to try decals for awhile, but they scare me. It seems you can only use them once, so if you mess up placement, you are screwed.

So when I came across these birdie and branch decals and the company said that they are reusable, I decided to try them.

I saw them on They are made by

And boy, that’s exactly what my walls need.

I first arranged them in a cute birdie scene above my picture window. But it felt forced and awkward. After living with them for a few days I decided to integrate them around my house. I sprinkled a few here, a few there.

It looks so much better and guess what? They peeled right off and I was able to reuse them, no problem. I think I might play around with more decals, they are easier and less messy than a stencil.

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Here’s another birdie scene I created.

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This is my favorite birdie scene! They look so cute flying around my plant.


#CraftyFlash: A flower for you


This was my super fast flower.

Here’s a quick craft I did with the unused flowers from my wreath. Martha Stewart uses everything and so do I. I took a leftover flower and spray painted it. I wanted to put a bead in the middle, but I gave the hot glue gun back to my mother-in-law and both the Elmer’s and super glue wouldn’t bond.

So I took a penny and used that instead. A dot of super glue on each side did the job. Finished with a little ribbon. Done in a flash.


Reading is fundamental and neighborly, Part 2


Here is the second Little Free Library in my neighborhood

Here is the second of three Little Free Libraries in my neighborhood. I love this idea. I wish I could do it on my street, but my street doesn’t go through, so it would just be me and my cats sharing books. And my cats prefer ebooks anyway.


Here are Boots and Ralph, when they aren’t downloading books they are busy sleeping.

Write-on Walls!

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My finished write-in wall, art courtesy of my super talented 9-year-old nephew, Vince.

I love chalkboard walls. The idea of writing on walls and not getting into trouble speaks to me on so many levels. And I tend to ruin stuff, so if I can build in an element of erasing, I totally dig it.


I outlined the area to paint with tape.

I spent a total of 3$ for this project. I got the paint for free by putting out a request on I love freecycle, but make sure you ask questions before you pick stuff up. People have generous intentions, I truly believe that, but sometimes the stuff you request ends up being real junk.

But not this time, the paint was perfect and the pick-up was less than 5 miles away.

So I took a frame I picked up at my favorite thrift store (Stars Resale in downtown Wheaton, Il. ) I think the frame was originally 6$, but it was half off pink sticker month and I got it for 3$.

I hung it where I wanted, outlined the area to paint. Slapped on two coats, hung the frame. And done.


The finished product!

More cheap ways to frame


My finished framed picture. I took this while I was at a sauna in Finlands. I love the Finns. So friendly.

Empty walls are wasted space. But framing images can cost a lot of money. Here’s another low-cost framing solution that I think works great. I found these wood frames in the garbage. Rather on the curb, in a box, waiting for the garbage man.


This is the box top in the frame.

DSC_0012Now these frames didn’t have glass and I’ve decided, who needs it?

I’ve framed a lot of things without glass and it actually makes it easier to find a frame and when you put your picture and frame together, there’s no dog or cat hair to get underneath the glass.

With this project, I had an 8 x 10 picture and an 11 x 17 frame. Instead of cutting a mat board and fitting the picture under it, I opted to put a piece of cardboard and taped my photo on top of it.

I used a box top from a leftover Banana Republic box. Cut it to size, slid it in an then taped the picture on the front.

Done and done.

#CuteFind: My favorite bustline


The American Fashion ladies from Avon.

My grandma was an Avon lady and we loved getting the flavored lip balms and scented hand creams.  But when I was about ten Avon first came out with the American Fashion thimbles.

I loved them, I wanted them. But my mom said no. I was too young. They were too little.  And I ruined shit.

So fast forward 20 something years… I found a complete set at my second favorite thrift shop for eight bucks ( my second favorite thrift shop is a boutique at my dad’s senior apartment building. Well, it’s not really a boutique but more of a display case in the lobby. )

The stuff is so vintage and so awesomely priced, I think it may be leftover stuff from past residents.

But anyhow, I saw this perfect set of busts and I had to have it.  It now lives carefully displayed in my bathroom. Grandma would be proud.

If you have a #CuteFind, share it with me on the twitter machine, @whatacutehouse. I would love to feature it here.

#CuteHouseTip: Not all thrift stores are thrifty

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This is my parrot friend from my favorite thrift store, the Stars Resale Shop in downtown Wheaton.

I have to get something off my chest. I get super offended when I go to a thrift store and the prices are anything but thrifty.

Now, I know there are different types of stores. A consignment shop takes gently used trendy clothes and sells them at a nice, but not deeply discounted price. If a piece is sold within a certain time period, the original owner usually gets a portion of the sale. I get that.

And there are both resale and thrift stores that take donations and may or may not give most of the proceeds to a specified non-profit or charity. I get that too.

What I don’t get is when thrift and resale shops get greedy and charge ridiculous prices for junk. And let’s be real, this isn’t retail.

I see it often with vintage items.

Just because a coat is vintage and has a nice shape, that doesn’t mean you should charge 99$ for it. Your customers know better.

Or when you try to sell ugly frames for 10 bucks. We aren’t stupid. I can go to the dollar store and paint cheap frames that look better.

I don’t know why these stores do this. If they adjusted their prices to realistically reflect the stuff they are selling, they would sell more.


But on the flip side, some thrift stores are priced so deliciously perfect that when you discover them you want to cry out in joy.

I’m grateful to have one of those in my neighborhood.

Awesome pressed flower wall hangings, 1 dollar, yes, please.

Retro serving trays, 2 bucks each, thank you.

Giant frames filled with art I might actually keep for under five bucks, oh sing it sister.

And a paper mache parrot sitting on a perch for 12 bucks. Fuck yes.

Thank you Stars Resale Shop. Keep up the good work.


This is my favorite thrift store, the Stars Resale shop in Wheaton. They do everything right!

TP your…wall?


Total credit goes to the good crafters of Pinterest for this idea. And to my surprise, I was able to pull it off.

I was looking for a basically free craft that would dress up a big blank spot on my dining room wall. I found this toilet paper wreath on Pinterest and fell in love.

But could I, the sort of craftily challenged gal that I am, really pull off something so cute?

Turns out I can, and so can you!

I put out a call to my  friends and asking for toilet paper and paper towel rolls. My friends are so great, I got back way more than I needed. About 75 in all, thanks hearty wipers!


This is Boots as his normal, helpful self.

Start by cutting the rolls up into about 1 inch pieces. Then arrange them into a flower shape. I did a mix of 4 and 5 petals. When you fold the pieces in half, they immediately look like petals.

Then using hot glue, glue the petals together.

I would let the glue on the flowers set over night before you start painting them. Originally, I wanted my flowers to be yellow, but the yellow paint wasn’t dark enough to cover the brown roll.

So I switched gears and used pink. Thank you to my Mother-in-Law for digging out her unused paint and letting me use her glue gun. She even got more of the skinny glue sticks, because she knows I prefer the little gun over the fat gun. Love that lady!


Before you glue the wreath together, arrange the shape.

I recommend applying the paint with a brush, versus spray painting it. I think you get better coverage, and it takes less time and paint. Paint the inside of the petals too.

Once the paint dried, I hot glued little beads to the center. I got the beads at Michael’s, they come in a strand for like a buck.

Once everything dried, I arranged the flowers into a wreath and started gluing the flowers together.

In order to hang it so it doesn’t droop, I hung it from the top petal and then used a nail on each side to rest the side petals.

And you’re done. And I have to tell you, it looks finished and polished and didn’t cost more than five bucks.

#CuteFind: Pull up a chair to my vintage table

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I had a really good #cutefind shopping trip today. I stumbled on an estate sale in my neighborhood and found this darling vintage metal TV tray. And it was only 5$ bucks! I love it. 

If you have a #cutefind for your cute house, share it with me on the twitter machine, @whatacutehouse. 


#CuteHouseTip: Avoid the Flood

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A stuffed Clifford and seats make this estate sale ready to open. But after the flood, who know’s if Clifford took a swim.

Avoid garbage picking and garage and estate sales if you recently had a flood in your neighborhood. My neighborhood got walloped last week. Entire blocks flooded, people had to get evacuated. Cars at the train station were drowned.


The was my commuter train station after last week’s heavy rain.

The garbage did a special pick up, and people heaped the contents of their homes on the sidewalk.

I have to admit, it was hard to pass up so many chairs and tables and knick knacks, but this was not treasure hunting. It was garbage picking. One-hundred percent Sanford and Son.

And then about a week later I came across an estate sale in the heart of one of the worst flooded areas. Now, who knows how much water the house got, but do you want to take that chance on bringing home something that will sprout mold or break because it was once water-logged?

I say skip it and save your salvaging for a sunny day.

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