DIY: Potato and Onion Storage

The counter, floor, on top of cabinets, refrigerator…just a few places my potatoes and onions find themselves after arriving from the grocery store. I cook with these ingredients all the time and it’s past time that they needed a place.

After a quick search, I figured out how it was going to help organize my tuber mess!

ladderWhile I love this…I do not love the price. $250? Really? I made mine for less than $40. This is another fool proof project.

With every home we renovate, we find nicknacks that make their way into our personal home. Lucky enough, Janis Ann left me a great wooden ladder. From there, simply measure your openings and buy baskets accordingly. Make sure you get a basket with several openings on the sides – that’s where you will hang the hook.


I purchased “S” hooks from Target’s shower curtain section. I hung each crate at it’s designated level and made a label. Voila! Because I have little ones, I did secure the ladder to the wall with screws and then placed rubber stoppers on the feet (no slipping!)


How useful and easy is that?

If you’re without a ladder – I also saw this variation:
That would work great with a leftover palette!

DIY: Mason Jar Foaming Soap Dispenser

This Mason Jar Foaming Soap Dispenser is quick, easy, and is one more maintenance item made simple.

Anything that makes life more simple is attractive to me right now. As I continue to prepare for Baby Girl No. 2 to make her arrival, I’m tossing more clutter and finding ways to be intentional with my space.

Which brings me to these…


Normally, I would change out the soap with each season. But really, I don’t have time nor the want to keep this up. Above that, the smell of these soaps was unbearable during first trimester and I still get chills up my spine every once in a while. Which brings us to the evergreen, never have to swap, easy mason jar foaming soap dispenser.

soap jar BA

After emptying the old bottles, cut the top off. Be sure to leave a little bit of the bottle sleeve – this will help hold the dispenser in place.

 mason jar plastic rim

Mark the rim of the dispenser on the mason jar metal top insert.


Use a sharp object and hammer to tap out perforated edges.


After complete, use a knife to remove the center. TIP: Wear gloves. The metal is sharp. Once complete, simply slip the foam dispenser insert through and attach the top.

Mason Jar Metal Rim

Fill with your favorite foaming soap and screw on the lid for the finished product. These will be a sweet touch to my kitchen and bathrooms.


DIY: Rustic Storage Cube Makeover

As Baby Girl No. 2’s due date draws closer and closer, my nesting instinct is getting stronger. It’s not necessarily the nursery I am concerned about – that will stay the same. It’s Coberly Nicole’s new room I want finished. Giving her the chance to get comfortable and confident in her new space is most important to me right now. Last week I got the dresser complete – DIY: Distressed Painted Furniture

This week my easy DIY is taking the basic 9-cube storage cubbies and turning it into something that doesn’t look so out of the box. The storage boxes and open shelving make it easy for little hands to grab, pull, and play when they feel like it. The price tag keeps this mama’s wallet happy.

So here it is – super simple:

Purchase the 9 – cube storage cubby. As of Jan. 19, 2015 Menard’s has them on sale for $25.00. Of course you can always find them on Amazon, Target, or Walmart. When assembling, we didn’t add all the dividers for some visual diversity and it provides a nice space for bigger toys and books.


Fabric boxes with labels help keep the toys divided.


After completely assembled, we pulled a few slats off of a wood pallet, cut them to size, and screwed them down with one inch screws. After the wood was attached, I sanded with a 60 grit, 100 grit, and then 180 grit for a smooth finish. If you’re concerned about splinters, you could put a polyurethane coat to help. You’ll also want to anchor it to the wall if you have climbers.


Super simple, cheap, and fast way to create a fun play area for the littles.

DIY: Distressed Painted Furniture

I’m not a fan of making something sound easier than it is, so let’s address this issue first. The skill level required to do this DIY Distressed Dresser is minimal, but the amount of time it’s going to take you is a different story. Can full-time working folks do this in an evening? Nope. You could break it up into sections or save it for the weekend.

I love how the dresser turned out and it was super affordable, but as I mentioned, it did take time.

After reading review after review of people saying they weren’t fans of chalk paint, I decided to stick with the tried and true method of sanding, priming, painting, and more sanding.


Simple Steps:

After removing all the hardware, I used 100 grit sandpaper to rough up this piece. I did not sand it all the way down to the natural wood because I wanted to use the stain color to show through my paint job in the end. I used block sanders for the details and an orbital sander for the sides and top. Once finished, I rubbed it down thoroughly with a tack cloth.


A coat of primer and a coat of Behr’s Ultra White satin left my dresser in good shape. When it was completely dry, I used the 100 grit sandpaper to choose the areas I wanted distressed. I kept my distressing pretty minimal – just edges and corners that would naturally come through. Then I used the 220 grit sandpaper block to smooth things out. At this point, could I have put a clear coat of polyurethane to “protect” it? Sure. But it seemed silly to me that I just painted a piece, intentionally distressed it, and then would take time to protect it so it isn’t further distressed? No thanks. I’ll take it as is!


Definitely a needed facelift and it will fit perfectly in Coberly Nicole’s new room!

Free Christmas Card Printables

Every year mailing Christmas cards out seem to get a little tougher, but I LOVE sending cards. The problem is, I don’t like just sending any card – I want it to be original and convey the Sturm family life that year.

This year, I wanted something warm and traditional. I found some affordable card stock at Hobby Lobby for $10 (set of 50 cards) and did a little design on my computer.

O Holy Night is my favorite Christmas carol, so I designed the card for a 5×7 (this particular one is folded). The prints are simple, but exactly what I wanted. If you would like to download this card for print, you can download the PDF here (5×7 folded card).


Of course, I always like to add a photo. Thanks to Grandma Smith, Coberly Nicole had a great new outfit to wear.


Now to just get these in the mail.

Chandelier Makeover DIY

This Chandelier Makeover DIY is for lighting in the Janis Ann project.

Each project we renovate, I try to leave behind some character of the original home. For the Janis Ann project, I knew the dining room chandelier could be something special with a little elbow grease. It’s a quality fixture from Germany that’s outdated due to the brass color and crystals.


IMG_4388 IMG_4392

For this DIY chandelier makeover, I decided to remove all the crystals and change the finish to oil-rubbed bronze. The crystals fell off with a simple snip, snip!



I sprayed a base coat of flat, dark brown – then covered the entire fixture with Rustoleum Metallic Finish Oil Rubbed Bronze.

The design plans for Janis Ann include very muted walls (color as seen in photo below), white kitchen cabinets, and a dark wood floor (not yet installed). The oil rubbed bronze fixture will help balance out all the colors.

The entire project took a total of 1:30 (that’s dry time included). It’ll be a beautiful focal point for the Janis Ann home when all the pieces finally come together!


Picking Paint Color, Tile, & Countertops

Walking into a new project that we’ve gutted always allows me to see the space with fresh eyes. My favorite place to start rebuilding is the kitchen. At the Sturm house, the kitchen is the heart of the home. It’s where we all touch base after we’ve finished a long day. The concoctions can warm cold skin, fill hungry bellies and fix a lot of life’s problems. I want homebuyers to be able to see themselves doing similar things in this space.

It’s always tricky with rehabs because I do not know my buyer. We walk a fine line of remaining neutral while still incorporating special touches that conjure up warm feelings of home.

For the Janis Ann Gem, we knocked out the wall separating living/dining area to the kitchen. It immediately opened the space and allows the rooms to breathe.


During my design process I scour magazines, Pinterest, and take countless trips to Home Depot. I need to make the most of this space on a budget and that always takes work. The first decision was easy – hardwood floors throughout. We haven’t found the product yet, but we know this is a must.

For paint color, I fell in love with this one:

silver strandSherwin Williams Silver Strand SW 7057

The front windows bring in light changes that keep the color versatile. In the morning it’s a cool gray, but by the afternoon, it’s warmed up to show it’s brown undertones.

I love these cabinets, but not the color. We’re going to lighten the whole room up with a simple paint job. This color isn’t stark white, but nice and clean:

IMG_4129white dove
Benjamin Moore White Dove OC-17

After going back and forth on backsplash, I’ve decided to go with the white subway tile. The space needs to remain as open and airy as possible.

I’m still on the hunt for the countertops. I love these options:

countertop3 countertop2 countertop1

Plus, we’re installing a beautiful island with a wooden top that will balance the whole kitchen out More updates to come as we make improvements.

How To Clean Clutter

With fresh motivation to be more intentional and focus on my home, what I really want to do is decorate all the spaces that I’ve left lonely for the past two years. But that’s not what I need to do. What I need to do is the less fun of those options…clearing the clutter.

As a kid, when my grandma or mom would tell me to clean my room – my sister and I (shared room) would fill every extra nook and cranny with junk. Fill the closet, close the door! Push it under the bed, the dust ruffle will hide it! As I grow older, my bad habit is starting to annoy me. I know the mess is there…waiting…and it’s driving me crazy. Plus, it’s always a song and dance when I have guests over and I’m trying to hide my secret, “No!! Wait!! I’ll put your coat up, thanks!”

This past weekend when my friends from North Carolina were visiting, I couldn’t find a washcloth in my linen closet. It was there, I knew it, but the disorderly mess left it hidden. On top of that, I was trying to block all eyes from seeing the crazed disorder behind the doors. So today, instead of decorating my master, I’m tackling one item on this list I’ve been ignoring.

First up, the linen closet. Above are the before photos, don’t judge me.

First step for me is always clearing everything out – EVERYTHING. I divide all my stuff into three initial piles:

  • Keep
  • Toss
  • Undecided

This is supposed to be fast! I never think about any item for more than a minute. If you have to think about it, put it in the undecided pile.

After everything is in a pile, it’s time to tackle the undecideds. Be objective – do you really use it? Could someone else use it more? Decide what you want to keep and give away (new pile).

Throw your toss pile out! That leaves you with the Keep pile and the Give Away pile. Go ahead and put your Give Away stuff in a bag and put it in the trunk of your car. The first step took me 25 minutes.

Second step is group together all your like items in your keep pile. For my linen closet it’s bed linens, towels, extra toiletries, medicine, cosmetics, and cleaning supplies. If it doesn’t fit in any of those categories, it probably belongs elsewhere in my home. For instance, I found some laundry stain removers (laundry room) and play jewelry (Coberly Nicole’s room).

Now that I’ve got all my items grouped together I can see how much space each needs and try to coordinate what containers will work. I’m doing this reorganization without spending any money, so these will have to do.


Last step is to put it all away. Here is my finished result! Does it look like a magazine? Nope. But it’s realistic and cost me nothing.


Let’s start with the top shelfI keep the toilet paper in the package until it’s opened. Once it’s opened, I take it out because the shredded plastic is an eyesore. Same thing with the paper towels. I also decided to keep my extra pillows on the top shelf where they had room to breathe – finally found a use for that linen bag.

Shelf TwoLet’s see those washcloths disappear now! I put all my washcloths in the basket because I find trying to keep a folded stack from tipping over is impossible. Next the hand towels and then the regular towels. I kept the folded edge facing forward to keep it looking clean.

Shelf ThreeEvery time I look for a new sheet I find myself unfolding them and searching for that silly tag. A solution: separate them on the shelf. I am keeping the full and queen sheets in different stacks.

What about those fitted sheets? Here’s the thing – I’ve watched the instructional videos on how to fold fitted sheets. I’ve followed Martha step-by-step to no avail. I’ve come to terms with the fact this is something I am not going to master, nor do I care. For this linen closet, they’ll stay semi-folded (ok, maybe rolled) in a nice basket so it doesn’t look like a disaster. Also separated by size.


Shelf FourI grouped all the extra toiletries into an open basket (for easy access). I placed all the medicine in a closed container (for safe storage from the little).

FloorMy extra cosmetics went in a nice box on the left and my cleaning caddy with all my supplies went on the right.

Last but not least, labels. Not only does it make it look organized, but it serves as a reminder for everyone else in the house to try and put things back in their place (including myself).


All in all, I would say this took me 1:20 (I spent some extra time to clean out the medicine cabinet contents). I can’t commit this kind of time every day – any busy mom knows that. I’ll make it my goal to do it once a week until I get my “problem areas” under control. I’m not striving for perfection, but I am striving to value the things I have while letting go of things I do not need.