Trailer Trashtastic

on a mission to live in & love our mobile home

Posts Tagged ‘makeover

Chalkboard Command Center

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chalkboard wall project

If you also follow me over at Sugar Dish Me, then you’ve probably already seen this post. If not, then forge ahead! But also, if you fit into the “not” category, it would be super great if you’d go there and subscribe! ( )

So I’ve had a few projects in the works and figured it was about time to put a few of them up so you all don’t think I’m full of empty promises.

The Kitchen Chalkboard Command Center. I love it.

John Lennon quote

Like many homes, the kitchen is at the center of ours. Maybe it’s because I am literally ALWAYS in the kitchen? Maybe it’s because we almost always come in and out of the back door into the kitchen? Or that there are almost always muffins or cookies on the table? It’s probably a combination of all these things. It makes me happy and crazy at the same time.

Our kitchen becomes a dumping ground for all things: permission slips, homework that needs to be checked, the calendar, bills that need to be paid, coupons, the mail, Chad’s tools (MAJOR pet peeve). Also- our refrigerator is nestled in the little walkway between the kitchen and our bedroom with the closet door for our heating unit situated across from it. There is room enough to open the fridge and rummage around accordingly, but anything that gets pinned to the front of it has little chance of being seen. My kids LOVE to plaster their artwork to the fridge, but  it falls down into the floor whenever you walk past one too many times. The coupons I stick to the freezer are forgotten and out of date. Evan had 3 unused homework passes from last year- that’s how inconvenient and out-of-view that space was.

The wall where I hang my calendar is pretty big, but if you have any experience at all with the walls in a mobile home, you know that they are suuuuper flimsy, the chances of finding a stud are slim, and they are covered in wallpaper that is completely atrocious. So I nail the calendar to the wall… and it falls down into the floor. I put the nail back in. It falls out again.

organizing the kitchen

The solution for me was to remove EVERYTHING from the front of the refrigerator, throw out all the out of date things, and then make a plan.

The plan was chalkboard paint.

So if you read the post (linked at the top of this post) about our trailer not being trashy, you know all about the offensive wallpaper. I am campaigning to systematically eliminate each and every bit of it, but it is time consuming.

To Paint Wallpaper – I HIGHLY recommend one of two products : 1) Glidden Gripper (available at Home Depot) or 2) Valspar’s Bonding Primer (available at Lowe’s)

These two primers are made to adhere to slick surfaces. They work great on furniture, faux wood paneling, and in my case, the ugliest wallpaper on earth. I’ve used both products and don’t really have a preference of one vs. the other, but to cover the wallpaper effectively I did have to use two coats so I didn’t have pattern bleed.

I taped off my area, primed two coats (using a regular old 3/8 nap roller), and let them dry completely. I wanted to prime part of this wall with magnetic primer, which is really a cool project. But magnetic primer USED to be like $10-$15/quart. And now it’s closer to $30. I will probably still do a portion of this wall as a magnet board, but only after I’ve price-shopped nearly everything and am convinced that $30 is actually the going rate.

In the meantime I affixed a cork board square (about $4/pack of 4 at Wal-Mart) to the wall using wall anchors (CRUCIAL to trailer crap wallboard hanging efficiency), and punched up important things like homework passes with thumbtacks.

functional kitchen space in a trailer

The chalkboard wall gives us adequate space to write lists, leave notes, and scribble inspirational quotes everyday.

I’m sure you’ve noticed our defunct smoke detector in these photos. It’s wired into the house (because when this place was built that must have been cutting edge technology- we also have a built-in AM/FM stereo!! Yeah!) and is disabled because it likes to shriek whenever I boil water and there is steam. I might have hit it with the broom. Don’t worry. We have others.

To Apply Chalkboard Paint – follow the instructions on the product you purchase, I used THIS and it has worked wonderfully every time I’ve ever used it. Make sure you STIR IT WELL before applying. I like foam rollers for applying chalkboard paint because they give a really smooth finish. On top of the primer they do seem to slide around a bit, and this WILL take a couple of coats, but the end result looks great.

You can see that scribbling on the wall is fun for everyone. Evan likes to add things to my shopping lists.

This little central hub for family activity adds lots of charm to what was a really boring and out-dated space. I have plans for a mini-version on one of my cabinet doors over the stove, which may be a good idea for those of you that don’t have spare wall space. The smaller version will be for meal planning and grocery lists. Magnetic primer would be excellent there, too.

The tools that kept landing in my kitchen are disguised behind the simple tab-top curtains that we originally bought from Target, but are actually hand-me-downs from my little sisters’ old bedroom. The mounting hardware is from Ikea, and if you have one near you, I guarantee you won’t find stylish window hardware any cheaper.

The refrigerator is free of clutter! Notes and lists go up and then get erased.

So that’s it. Go paint something.

easy chalkboard wall project



Written by Heather @ Sugar Dish Me

October 11, 2012 at 7:22 pm

A Little Help, Please?

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I should have titled this post “Who Knows What To Do With 9,053 Wire Hangers?”

Someone should ask Joan Crawford, maybe?

Okay, but on a serious note – I hate a wire coat hanger. Chad’s work uniforms are laundered, which helps keep metal grounds and sand out of my washing machine, but means that once a week he comes home with 10-15 more wire hangers. I transfer the uniforms to the neatly organized plastic hangers before putting them in our closet, which leaves me with an ever-growing pile of wire hangers that have taken up residence above my washing machine.

I can’t make myself throw them away… it feels like a disgusting misuse of natural resources.

And we have established that the uniform company does not pick the hangers up for re-use (though they should!!! **if not in the interest of the planet then at least in the interest of their bottom line**).

We have used the wire hangers here and there for small projects – wish I’d had the foresight to take pictures, but I didn’t… sorry! Anyway we have re-purposed them for:

  • pretty hangers for Christmas stockings (thanks to Chad and a handy pair of pliers)
  • markers for moon flower seeds in the garden
  • the wire backing for homemade greenery wreaths

I’m sure there are a few projects I’m forgetting about. I can use the hangers one or two at a time, but then I get a whole new set the following week and the JUST KEEP ACCUMULATING.

A little help, please?

Written by Heather @ Sugar Dish Me

May 7, 2012 at 5:25 pm

Posted in Projects

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Project 1: De-Clutter

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Okay, so this looks pretty trashy.

This is the handicapped, waaaay beyond second-hand shelf where my children shove everything that has no home. When I ask them to pick up the living room this is the result.

This shelf makes me crazy.

I decided to take stock of the things that haphazardly live on this shelf. We have remote control cars that no one plays with. VHS tapes that no one watches. Vehicles made of legos that are supposedly very important, but you would never know it the way they are thrown on the shelf beside a stack of Woman’s Day magazines and a pile of broken crayons.

I’ve been shelf-shopping online for a pretty long while now, trying to find a replacement for this bizarre piece of furniture that used to be built into the wall of an old Craftsman style home. I’d settled on a shelf that matches my existing bookshelf- an Ikea purchase I made a couple of years ago.

But we live in the middle-of-nowhere and trips to Ikea have to be planned and budgeted for.

I got antsy.

So I took it upon myself to completely unhinge the entire living room one day while Chad was at work and the kids were at school. I got about halfway through it before I realized that I needed Chad to help me move the furniture. He was pretty excited when he came home for lunch.

I mean, who wouldn’t get excited about moving heavy furniture in the middle of the workday?

With everything off the shelves and in the floor it was really easy to see that no one needs any of this stuff.

So I got rid of it.

Well not the books. But everything else.

Kept my stack of magazines, too. Because I USE them! But I put them in this pretty metal bin that I stole from my boys’ bedroom.

I made another trip to Ollie’s and bought this pretty little pot for $2.99 and stuck some ivy in it.

Now the shelf is too barren instead of too junky. But that’s a better problem to have in my opinion.

Do you have an area in your house that makes you crazy?

Written by Heather @ Sugar Dish Me

May 4, 2012 at 1:53 pm

Adventures at Ollie’s

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This weekend, while wandering through what seems like an endless stretch of strip malls in a nearby city and attempting to shop for Andrew’s upcoming birthday, Chad steered us into an amazing new place.

Okay well it’s not new, but it’s new to me. Have you ever been to Ollie’s Bargain Outlet? It’s a place I’ve never been because really, from the outside, it looks sort of yucky (perhaps this is just the store closest to us and there are others that don’t suffer from being less than visually appealing). I was expecting piles of useless junk and all things knick-knacky (I am not a trinket girl – I don’t need more things to dust- sorry!).

Instead, as soon as we walked in the door, we were greeted by BOOKS. Two huge floor to ceiling walls of books! Brand new books at that. That’s when I knew Ollie’s had me. Chad, Evan, and I (Andrew spent the weekend in the mountains; LUCKY.) took our time and navigated every aisle in the store thoroughly. There was something for each of us— and probably the most for me! They carry everything from cleaning products to pretty painted ceramic pots. There were overstock rugs in all shapes and sizes– and of surprisingly good quality! Patio furniture, kitchenware from Rachel Ray and Paula Deen, and hordes of picture frames happily distracted me.

Evan thumbed through a book of photos from memorable demolition derbies (one of our favorite things) and then discovered an aisle full of board games (Oh no!). Chad was sufficiently placated with gadgets and tools of all varieties. I spied an aisle of prints on canvas and fell in love with a painting of huge red poppies. It’s on my list of things I want to buy, but at $59.95 it didn’t fit into the budget this week. Sigh.

I would have snapped a photo, but I was busy trying to avoid an employee that seemed intent on running over me with a palate full of baseball helmets, mitts and other goodies. Sometimes bargain shopping is hazardous.

So here’s what I ended up with (besides a little heartache over a print of poppies that WILL be mine)…

The metal trash cans were so adorable I just couldn’t resist- the retro green and yellow flowered one will go to live in mine and Chad’s bathroom, the strawberries in our bedroom.

Somehow the children managed to snap the inside of the lever in their toilet; I’m pretty pleased with my $1.99 fix (thanks to free plumbing, courtesy of my handy boyfriend). The skewers I grabbed because it’s grilling season and they were less than $1. Overpriced local grocery store: take that! The cook book, of course, will soon make an appearance on Sugar Dish Me; there’s a Baked Banana Rum & Lime Crumble that is calling my name.

So Ollie’s is going on my list of super great and cheap places to shop for housewares; right up there with Target and Big Lots. No, I was not kidding about Big Lots; it’s where I’ve found many awesome picture frames for less than $5…

…and a whole assortment of decorative metal signs…

like this one that lives above the washer and dryer advertising laundry (like as if laundry needs advertising).

Where are your favorite discount places to shop for good, cheap housewares? What are your favorite finds?

Written by Heather @ Sugar Dish Me

April 16, 2012 at 6:37 pm

I Am Trailer Trashtastic

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The place we- myself, my two kids, my boyfriend- call home is four walls and a roof. We have a tiny kitchen, two bedrooms, two baths. There is a little utility area where the washer dryer lives, along with a number of gardening mess and some tools. With two porches outside, some generic lighting, a couple ceiling fans, and electrical outlets that are never where you want them to be, we could be in any apartment community in any city in the U.S.

But we’re not.

All around us is wide open space… trees, fences, farms. Sure we have neighbors; where we live now is more populated than what we’d prefer, but as a girl from the suburbs, I can say the neighbors out here are much fewer and farther between.We have a yard full of soft green grass (when the gumballs from my sweet gum trees have been carefully extracted) and there are shady trees that line the edge near the road. In the small garden Chad dug up for me last year my pink verbena is blooming and the yellow bells are green and lush.

We are situated at the corner of two two-lane roads. No sidewalks, very little traffic, and not much noise (unless you count the very annoying adolescents with dirtbikes that pass by here 78 times a day when school lets out). At night you can see all the stars in the sky. Dark is actually dark and the moon perches right smack in the middle of it.

It’s really quite nice out here, and the truth of it is that we reside for now in a rented mobile home.

I grew up in a brick house in the suburbs of a large city in North Carolina, so deciding to move into a mobile home took a little hemming and hawing on my part. Tired of looking for affordable housing in our rural community and eager to put my feet down somewhere, we settled on this single wide trailer with a great big yard and shady trees.

My children required a little convincing; they weren’t sure about living in a home that fits on the back of a truck. Like me they have been bombarded by all the ugly things people say about trailer-dwellers.

And I won’t tell you that I haven’t come across more than my fair share of people that made all of my wildest visions of a trailer trash stereotype come completely true. But the fact of the matter is, there are losers and dirtbags anywhere you go. Some of them live in mobile homes. Others live in apartments. I’d say there are probably just as many that live in picturesque single family houses.

The boys were quickly sold by the green grass in the yard and a desk built into a small nook in their bedroom. I was all about my obnoxiously large bathroom, complete with a super deep garden tub. So we loaded up our things and moved in.

Nearly three years later, my boyfriend Chad and I find ourselves scoping out nearby properties containing a little acreage. We’d like to buy, and then build. Upon debating where to live while building, a used mobile home on our for-right-now-imaginary-property seems to be the most cost effective solution.

Which means that unless we accidentally win the lottery, the problems in this temporary home will follow us to our in-between new one.

We haven’t put a timeline on things just yet, so I got it in my head that I need to make our small but quaint living space just a little more cozy and livable. Trailers- particularly the older, single-wide variety- for me present an extensive series of aesthetic and spatial problems (for photos please see My Trailer’s Not Trashy). We have very little closet space, but mostly it’s the wallpaper that boggles me. And the wheat carvings on the cabinet doors are pretty puzzling.

Google wasn’t much help.

It appears as though we are the only young couple living in a trailer trying to make a more desirable place. And I know that just CAN”T BE THE CASE!

So my Cast, Crew & I have decided to turn here- the infinitely knowledgeable blogosphere! We will post photos of new projects, beg for ideas, and document the trials of turning our trailer(s) into something trashtastic.

Written by Heather @ Sugar Dish Me

March 26, 2012 at 2:53 pm

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