Looking for great art decor for your home? We’ve got that!

Yep.  You read that right.  We do art now.  Art you’ll like and love and want to gift to all your people.  We’ve gifted these pieces of downloadable art to friends as housewarming gifts, family as host gifts and even to our roofer once who helped us out in a pinch.  The link below will bring you to our Etsy shop (named Our Useful Hands too – look ma, no confusion!) where you can place your orders and get an instant digital download.

Then you do this….

  1. Print it out.
  2. Pop it into a snazzy frame.
  3. Bag it, tag it, card it, wrap it.
  4. Gift it and wait for the thanks to pour in.  Trust us…it happens. 🙂




***Now if you aren’t here for some unique, classy, cheeky construction art decor then please, by all means, ignore this post and proceed into the Construction Kingdom that is the rest of this blog.

What’s Shake-a-laken?

Hey dare!

Okay so here is a dump update of all things house? Ready for it? Like to hear it? Cause here it goes….

We finally made a compost bin – hip hip hooray!!!!  We have been wanting to make one from day one of stepping on the scene in this place (fast forward a whole year!) and we finally got around to doing it last weekend.  It was tre’ simple to make.  Observe.

Step 1: buy any sized that you deem manageable to your life Rubbermaid bin from your local store (Target, Walmart, HD or Lowes – whoever)

Step 2: bring it home and take a drill to it.  Drill 8-10 holes in the lid and through the bottom (this allows for water to drain out after a rainstorm and helps with the aeration.)

Step 3: start layering….we did 1st layer shredded newspaper, junk mail and old homework, 2nd layer – attacked that pile of leaves in the corner of our lot that’s been sitting behind a tree taunting me, 3rd layer – found that hole the dog dug in the backyard and pulled a nice sized chunk out of that and made a nice enough mound that when spread out in the bin with the shovel it reached the 1/2 way mark.

Step 4: ran indoors and grabbed the first thing I could find to throw in there to start breaking down.  Watermelon rind for the win!  (not reinforcing any kind of stereotype here whatsoever…lol)

Step 5: turn the hose on it and do a semi light sprinkling – don’t douse it and don’t make a piddly attempt at it either, somewhere in between.  I read on a composting website to make sure it’s like a wrung out sponge every time.  Find that sweet spot.

Step 6: I used our shovel to mix everything all up and then just stood there and stared at it for like a minute like it was suddenly going to turn to me and be like “Great job and Voila!  I’m done!” but naaaah….it should take me about 2 weeks before it’s good to start using.

I don’t know….it’s looking pretty good to me already.

compost bin success!


What else, what else?….hmm oh!  Right. We finally got the pool up and running again.  Here’s the story on that.  One day a long time ago (3 months ago) the dog was allowed to go outside and run around in the sides and backyard because it’s fenced all the way around.  Then one day I was working at home and realized something was off…the hum of the pool pump.  So I went to check on it and realized the breaker tripped and the motor had shut off.  “That’s weird.” 3 months younger Lynn said to herself.  It did that for about 3 days and then it just never turned on again.

So we called in our pool guy Ken.  He said it needed a new motor.  And who dug the massive hole right next to the motor? Dean the Dog did!  Crazy dog…  and then on top of that it rained and then we think that the massive amount of dirt plus the water mixed into a perfect storm of rust and then rendered it completely useless to us.  And to fix it was nearly $300 greenbacks which we didn’t just have sitting in our mattress at the time.  *Kidding…we don’t use the mattress, we use the freezer. :-p

Fast forward to a month ago and I was perusing craigslist – it’s what I do when I’m bored, that and Candy Crush I can’t get enough of,  “Hook it to my veins!” – and saw a post of someone looking for website work in exchange for bartered pool services.  Bingo and heeeelloooo!  We met each other, assessed the likelyhood of each other being crazy….”Are you an axe murderer?  No.”   “Are YOU an axe murderer?  No.”  “Okay we’re good to go then!”  <—those words were truly spoken. Haha!  And thankfully it turned out well.  It was alot of hard work on both our ends but in the end we both got a really great product.  (Anyone in the Tampa Bay Area seriously look up Dave the Pool Tech with mysimplepool.com and Justin and Alex will help you out and they’re really reasonable with their pricing.)

So the pool went from looking like this for about 3 months…(don’t worry, we rarely went out back during that time so no wildlife got us.)

My fears of gators prevented me from even looking out the kitchen windows...

Sheesh…see how low the water line got too?  No worries because by the end of the day after replacing the motor this is how it was looking…

The during...

And 3 days later it was even better…

Now we're talkin'...

Don’t mind the leaf in the pic.  Dave the Pool Tech said to give it about 1 week to a week and a half before getting into it, which my health nut brain translated into 2 weeks at the least.  You should have seen how much chlorine we had to drop.  I should have washed my whites while I was at it…hmm…missed opportunity, oh well.

The final step is that we have to vacuum it out and then jump right in.  It is perfect timing too because the kids get out of school in almost 2 weeks – gulp – and I think our new tradition will be I’ll let them wear their bathing suits to school and so they can change in the car on the way home and then just run right from the van to the pool and jump right in washing the year of hard work away and making room for endless days of….doing a whole lot of not much of anything.

I’m blessed because as a Realtor and with my husband holding a steady full-time gig, I can scale back my work schedule during the summer to maybe one day a week in the office and spend the majority of my time at home with the kids keeping them alive and occupied.  I’m starting to make their “MOM I’M BORED” go-to list.  Thanks to the invention of Pinterest and the Staring Contest I’m sure there will be no lack of things to do this summer.

Do you guys have any ideas for the summer and how to keep it light and fun for everyone?  Let me know in the comments section below.  Cool.  Cool, cool, cool.


Tedious. So guess what I’m talking about? Not watching paint dry, although I hope to be at that step by sometime in early April. I’m talking about removing the old wallpaper from the kitchen. Old 1980’s maroon floral pattern to be exact. And it’s a liberating and excruciating experience all at the same time.

Have you ever pulled down wallpaper? If yes, then you agree with the title of this post. It’s sooooooo tedious. I’m trying to convince myself that I’m getting in an arm workout at least while I do it – you know, to make it all seem worth it.

Here’s a before shot. (Oh did I tell you that we lost our camera and are now reduced to taking them on our sad little cell phone? Hey we suffer, you suffer. Haha!)

You see why this had to come down right?
You see why this had to come down right?

Now we are currently at the stage of we picked out colors that we feel would go well with the living room because when you walk into the house the first two things you see are the living room and 2 walls of the kitchen. Everything has to meld in a super creamy easy way so as to not be jarring on the eyes and want you to turn and run from the house screaming while having a seizure.

Today I am on mycolortopia.com (awesome user-friendly website if you are trying to figure out what colors to use in your house.) trying to figure out what would look best.

Has anyone else worked on pulling wallpaper to the point that your fingers get wrinkly like a pitted prune? Tell me about it? And what is your go to method for getting the stuff down? I have gotten into my own rhythm with my hot water method, but do tell me what you have found successful. We’re always up for suggestions!

Next post will hopefully be about us picking our colors and a more in-depth show of how we are taking down the “Flower Power” leftover from the 80’s.

Let’s Get Motivated!

So all weekend we have been trying to get pumped back up to get into renovation mode.

We watched Renovation Realities on DIYNetwork.com and I’ve gotta tell you – that show really inspires me. And I’m glad to report that alot of times Michael and I said things like “Don’t cut into that, it looks like a load bearing wall” JUST before the little info. blips would pop up at the bottom of the screen.

So yeah. We think we’re the hammer jam…

What about you guys? What gets you in the mood to swing some hammers? TV, music, magazines, Pinterest? What?

Bathroom 3.0

This is what we are going to be working on for the next few days.  1 to 2 days to be hopeful.  A girl can dream can’t she?


Yes that’s a toilet in front of a toilet…it’s new vs. old right now.

This is the 3rd bathroom in the house and it’s going to be our guest bathroom because right outside and around the corner is a guest bedroom that we will have open for all the weary travelers that need a place to rest their heads whenever they visit.

We haven’t touched this bathroom since we moved in almost 9 months ago.  Yowza!!!!  I can’t believe we have been here that long and there are still virtually unearthed and untouched terrain behind a few mystery doors.  I guess it keeps things interesting though.  I like waking up and thinking “What do we tackle today or this week?”  It’s like a reality show in my mind.  It has Gordon Elliott narrating in case you’re wondering.

You see all those bags on the counter?  There IS a sink under there believe it or not!


Those bags in there are covering our Flinstones green sink.  Those bags do contain some goodies too though and I can’t wait to show them to you when they are all put together.  It’s a burlap material shower curtain and our peel and stick tile we will be adding to warm up the place and make it feel like home.

SIDE NOTE: Even though we don’t have our camera, I have finally been given a tutorial by Michael on how to lift the pictures off of our cell phone so now I am back in business!  Granted, they won’t be the best quality but will it make my mother love me less?  Naaah…

Right now we have about 2 pressing matters we need to address in here:

  • Switch out the gross rusted out green toilet for a nice off white modern bowl.
  • Rip up the vinyl yellow-stained floral flooring that is ripped and replace it with a nice dark chocolate marble based peel and stick floor.

The things that we want to accomplish to get the bathroom completely up to our liking are as follows…

  • Switch out toilet.
  • Paint bathtub white.
  • Hang shower curtain.
  • Paint the whole room.
  • Remove soffit above bathtub to heighten the room even more.
  • Redo flooring.
  • Replace towel holder?
  • Frame out mirror.
  • Change counter.

Tomorrow I will show you what the materials we have so far look like – the curtain and the flooring – but for now this is all we have to share, some “Pin”spiration photos….


Dare we add a gradient Ombre Wall?  Hmm…
above photo courtesy psimadethis


What we are really trying to accomplish is dark floors with an airy top feeling.  This bathroom nails it.
above photo courtesy The Marion House Book148126275214140678_y1fdLUco_c

And this one…
photo courtesy Sweetopia

Aaaand one last one…11610911508805024_nrF58Vhf_c
above photo courtesy Better After

So now you see what we are going for, and now you realize and we have made this realization a long while ago – that we have a looooo-ooooong way to go.  Is anyone else sweating already or is that just us?

What new things have you been working on?  Is anyone else working on their thrones lately?  Tonight is date night and I just know we will end up at “Big Orange” at some point.  What can we say?  There is nothing more romantic to us these days than strolling the aisles of Home Depot hand in hand with a notepad full of dreams…

Okay Now It’s Gotten Out of Hand

I really miss our camera…

It is making me kind of upset and angry quite frankly.

So now I am on the hunt for a new one, a better one.  “We can make it faster.  Stronger.”

Do you guys have a great camera? What do you think is a good one to get?  Huh?  What is the best most reasonably user friendly camera out there?  Leave your thoughts down below in the comments y’all!

Where We Been?

Well…we have had alot of activity here since our last update so here is the newest and latest that is going on in the house. 

* We had a housewarming party for our pad finally back on the 1st weekend of October.  It was tons of fun and we had a nice showing of friends and family.  Michael and I pulled triple duty with serving food, hosting tours, and entertaining guests.  We got a few gifts that were sweet and practical (hello new drill bit and drill set!) and just had an overall great time.  

* We painted the guest room/office – but if I’m completely honest with myself and you guys, I don’t love the color we ended up with.  The swatch was lighter than the actual paint came out to be.  We were going for a khaki light coffee brown and instead it came out like a light green blue.  Go figure!  So instead of adding a light and airy feeling to that room because it has no windows, just a glass slider door, I feel like the color sucked the life out of the room.  My next mission?  Try and convince Michael to change the color again.  Ha!

* Added a chalkboard wall to the side of the kitchen pantry.  Still have to frame it out but it’s coming along like a boss.

Now I know you are thinking where are the pictures lady?!? And you are right.  The problem is that we can’t seem to find our camera.  I have searched hi and lo and can’t find it anywhere.  And it has tons of pictures on it still and I’m saaaaad because I want to show you all the stuff we shot over the last couple of weeks.  

So boo….

But at least you got some word updates right?  That’s a reason to smile ey?  Okay if not and you and I get desperate enough then I will go around and take pics with my laptop camera and see if that will do.  Deal?  Deal.

How have y’all been?  Anyone working on anything new?  Ever lose your camera for an extended period of time?

Is This Our First Rodeo?

We are so disappointed in ourselves.


We got the wrong finish….AGAIN!!!!!!

This weekend our little girl was sick and so was Michael so we were running a sick bay pretty much all day everyday since Thursday.  Finally I was like “somethings gotta give” and I busted out the paint and started rolling (you guys remember that right?) 

After I rolled over everything with the roller while having the utmost confidence that everything was right with the world I realized after sitting down and starting to watch a show that the wall was looking kinda funny.  


I’m annoyed but hopefully the FOURTH time is going to be the last time we paint these walls. 

The finish was originally Satin and I have no idea why we didn’t seem to nail that down from the beginning.  We like a Satin paint finish because it almost looks like velvet on our walls.  And it’s not completely matte but has a slight hint of texture to it.  Off to the store I go today to see if anything is returnable at all.  Probably not but a girls gotta try right?

Do you guys like painting?  I find it to be nice wall therapy.  Give me an iTunes playlist and a brush any day!

Have You Ever…

…painted a room while the weather was not so nice outside?  Hmmm??? Everything I have read about painting gives advice NOT to do that, but I’m itching to paint, so I think I’m gonna…

It’s just touchups though, over already painted surface.  That should be fine right?  Can’t I paint my walls even though it’s damp out?  (Fingers in ears while singing loudly “La La La La La Laaaaa……”) I’m going with the yes I hear in my head!  Haha!

And this is why….


Does anyone recognize that Sesame Street diddy for the number 15? No? This is such a childs crash pad…


Do you see it?  Yep.  We bought the right color but the wrong finish.  Enter that sad womp womp woooooomp tune right here.  So when we thought the painting was over and done with we stood back and I noticed something was a bit off.  It was dark by then and Michael couldn’t see it, but by the next morning I heard him say in the living room “Uh-oh.  You’re right. How did we not see it?”

Back to the drawing painting board we go and hopefully we can knock this out of the park today.  I say we but really this touchup quickie project will be all me because the house is running at 50% in the sick bay.  There is some wicked stuff in the air these days lately.

Vitamin C tablets anyone?  Oh and has anyone tried Emergen-C?  Is it good for colds at all?  Let me know.

How Not to Go Crazy The 1st Day of School

Yeah I wondered if that post title would fit…haha!

So I didn’t put this up yet because we still have a few touchups to do on the surrounding walls and in the lines as well.  But Michael and I spent the first day of back to school together because he’s such a dear man and took the day off of work in case I had a mental breakdown (like the last 3 years…cough*) the day the kids went back to school.

This year our little girl started Kindergarten and the young man of the home crashed landed into 2nd grade.  The time is just flying right on by.  But we are trying to make the most of it while we’ve got it so we threw a few things around as to what we would do with our quiet day and we stumbled onto kids rooms makeover!  Yes we did.  And we did it up kinda nice I think.

For little mans room we started with a blank blue wall.  The one that has his doorway on it so that when he walked into the room his back would be to it and it would be a pleasant surprise when he turns around everyday.

Hello bare wall – prepare to turn awesome!

It took a few weeks to decide on what to put on his walls and in the end we decided on a chevron pattern.  You know, the zig zag or the Rolling V pattern as I like to call it.  And to accomplish this look we used painters tape, a level, a ladder, a measuring tape and a wwwhhhooooooooooooole (whole) lotta patience.  Here’s the pattern we made and how.

1. Measure out your pattern with a level or with a steady eye and a steady hand. Or a ruler. Yeah, that’ll work too.

2.  Add your tape from points to points.  Use a pencil to make your points because they are easy to cover and erase.

3. We took our razors and then cut out the tape around the design. See the removed tape just stuck to the wall?

4. Above you will see the remaining tape and the part where we painted the white into the design.

And here are a few after shots when it was all said and done…

There are still a few things left to do for the wall and the surrounding walls as well.  What I thought – and tried to sell Michael on – would be a 2 hour job turned out to take almost 6 hours to complete.  We were still pulling tape off and putting the finishing touches as best we could before we had to run out and pick up the kids from school.

We need to still touch up some paint lines that got onto the other 2 walls due to some hurrying on my part.  I plan on tackling that sometime this week.  I dub this week “Get the painting done finally!” on the walls that really need it.  I’m talking to you too living room!

Oh well.  Whatever. Whenever.

This was a project that was fun to tackle together and I wish that I filmed the kids reactions to their new wall art, but alas it’s locked into my cranium for my rocking chair days. Let’s just say there were alot of shrieks, giggles, jumping up and down, and flailing of arms.  Oh and the kids were super happy too. 😉

We still have another room project that we tackled the same day to share with everyone and I’ll get that posted soon too.  But in the meantime I hope you liked this one.  I am still shocked that we pulled it off in one day.  We did a working lunch so as to not lose time.  That helped.

You can do this too!  Or have you done this already?  Let me know if you have or want to and send us pictures if ya got em!