DIY Kitchen Remodel

My husband and I were determined to renovate our kitchen to bring it out of the 1970s and into the modern world. Goodbyeeee green speckled laminate!

Check out the ‘Before & After’ photos below.

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Take note of the beautiful and updated railing my husband built to replace the old and not-to-code barrier. He’s pretty terrific.

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What did this kitchen overhaul cost us?

  • Granite – $2100
  • Paint – $40 for paint and brushes
  • Railing – $180 for all materials and special sizing tools
  • Backsplash – $150 (includes the grout, adhesive, subway tiles and specialty tiles)
  • Rustoleum Cabinet Kit – $80
  • New kitchen hardware – $60 (available here on
  • Grand total = $2600

Overall, this is a pretty inexpensive renovation if you aren’t in need of new countertops. I’m extremely happy we took on this project and would definitely do it again, except I might just spend the money on new cabinets. Painting them sure does save money, but it’s takes FOREVER. And then some. And then some more.

Any questions? Ask away! 🙂


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Social Media

A few years ago if someone would have told me Twitter would grow to become a multi-million user social media tool, I never would have believed them. I started using my personal Twitter account (@HalleySuzy) in March of 2007 as a great way to bulk message my friends. I have grown to love Twitter as a tool to meet new people, know what my friends are up to and network with people in my field. I love all that Twitter has encompassed over the years and how much it has grown!

By creating a twitter account I wanted to network and build relationships with people in the Broadcast Journalism field, stay current on the latest news and read about a the interesting adventures of stranger’s daily life.

Twitter is a great way to communicate! For example, I follow Beverly Kidd from Channel 3 in Phoenix (@bevtv) and tweet at her occasionally. I recently told her I was applied for the internship at Good Evening Arizona with her and she replied “Yay! Good luck:) RT @HalleySuzy: Just put in my requests for internship interviews. Of course GEAZ with @bevtv was my top pick! :)”  Without Twitter, I would not have been able to communicate and network with Beverly Kidd or any other journalist.

I think Twitter and blogging are essential to a journalist’s work. Blogs allow instant feedback and Twitter gives the opportunity for communication unlike before. Both tools are essential in social media and bringing the audience and the media closer.

I have two seperate Twitter accounts, a personal account and a professional account. I made my personal account private as it’s somewhere I post personal tidbits about my life that I would not prefer the whole world to know about. I have a professional account that I use to update about school, journalism and current events while being able to promote my Thrifty Thinking Blog. I like having two accounts because I like the option of keeping some of my thoughts available only to the certain people I choose.

I have created a Facebook page for my Thrifty Thinking blog but I feel I have the biggest response through Twitter and my blog itself. I thought about creating an account on Fark and Reddit for ThriftyThinking, but I feel I would have better response with submitting a certain blog posts on those websites in order to receive traffic to my site. I want to avoid looking like a spammer or advertiser.

My main goal was to become prevalent in the journalism field and I feel by creating a Twitter account I have began to build the foundation to relationships with other journalists.

Overall, I have to say that I LOVE Twitter. There are many social media sites out there, but Twitter is #1 in my technological heart.

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Create a New World

Cherry Blossom Tree Wall Art


Don’t let frames stop your artwork! Thinking outside of the box (or the frame) and think about the entire space on your wall.

For my bedroom I wanted to make it into a creative space while relaxing and fun. I also wanted to incorporate both my personality and style with my boyfriend’s. I chose a wall in the bedroom that isn’t covered by furniture and a rectangular shape.

First I sketched out what I wanted to do with the wall. While collaborating with my boyfriend, we decided I would get to design a cherry blossom tree and he would incorporate artwork by Banksy. We found two images that go really well together and exemplify both of our personalities.

Paint a background color first if you have a color chosen. Let that dry and then begin to start painting. For the cherry blossom tree, I cut out cardboard in the shape of the blossoms so I can easily trace the outline with a pencil and then paint in the corresponding color. For the other designs you can draw freehand and then paint within your lines.

The design possibilities are endless! Painting an entire room can really bring a whole different atmosphere into the area. A jungle in a children’s room or a picket fence and clothes line in a laundry room really can bring a unique style to any room in your home.

What are you going to create with your space?

Banksy Artwork


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Genie in a Bottle…

A quick and neat way to make ordinary bottles into a great decor piece is simple.

Instead of recycling those glass bottles, you can make them into a unique piece for any room in your home. You can either collect bottles of the same size for a symmetrical effect or obtain many different sizes and shapes. Saving old magazines with interesting and artistic pictures can also be incorporated into the design.

First purchase Modge Podge, paint and brushes at a local home craft store. Before attaching any of  the photos from a magazine, paint the bottle any color, design or text and let it fully dry. After that is done, cut out your image and place it over the bottle. Use the Hodge Podge to seal the picture onto the bottle. After the Modge Podge has completely dried and glued the image, it’s ready for your home!

You can display the bottles by themselves or you can fill them with any kind of item. Sand, beads, flowers or even a string of lights would add the extra flair you might be craving. It’s really up to you and whatever you would like to create.

Let each person in your family decorate one, no matter of their age. With proper supervision for the young ones, it can even be a fun activity for the whole family – and a great representation of each member’s personality and a conversation piece!

Special thanks to my friend Allison Guilliams for the awesome idea and photos!


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Get Going on your Garage!

That is my really cute yellow bike! :)

A garage is commonly thought of as a place for cars, a “man’s cave,” or as storage for all the Christmas decorations and numerous items that won’t fit in the house or attic. It can be a great place for storing things that you do not routinely use but it can also turn into a storage dump quickly. The best solution to keeping your garage tidy and organized is with tons of shelving or cabinets.

Home improvement stores charge $400 for a simple workbench, with no shelving underneath or attachments. It is relatively simple to make your own workbench and it can be cut to the exact width and size for your garage for a fraction of the cost.

My boyfriend has a bazillion tools so finding somewhere to put them was definitely in order. We measured the length, width and height of the desired bench, then went to our local Home Depot to purchase the lumber. He started out by making a long rectangular cube with the 4×4 pieces. He then nailed additional 4×4 pieces to the middle for an additional shelf. He then attached the top unit and shelving piece to complete the project.

With a little creativity and carpentry, you can create an extremely useful workbench and storage, all for around $80.

If you want to keep the uncluttered look, you can install cabinets onto the work bench so the stored items are not in view for a really clean and sleek look.

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A Lack Table Without Lacking Style

I love IKEA furniture. Their products give my house an affordable, yet modern appeal. From my first blog post, you probably already know that I adore IKEA items, whether it be for storage, functionality or organization. My boyfriend and I were doing some spring cleaning and were getting ride of two IKEA Lack tables and a Lack coffee table. We found a great idea from IKEAHackers to build and reuse the items for something new instead of leaving them for bulk pick up.

The IKEA Lack tables used to make the base of the table.

IKEA Lack coffee table used as a top for the table.

I have been searching for a sofa table since I purchased my home because I always felt our front entry way looked lonely. I was ecstatic to build this piece of furniture from items we had once deemed be to trash! My boyfriend Cody got out his drill, screws and measuring tape and within 10 minutes we had the beautiful table!

IKEA Hackers originally posted it as a breakfast bar, but since we already have a kitchen table we built it as a table for the entry way.

The finished table in the entry way of my home.

Rethink before you toss that old table or dresser onto the curb – it could be exactly what you’ve been looking for.

What have you saved from the garbage and constructed into something useful?

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Down and Dirty with Spring Cleaning

Spring is officially here! The flowers are blooming, birds chirping and your house might still be a little out of control from the Christmas and New Year’s Eve party you haven’t recovered from yet.

The twentieth of March marks the official beginning of spring and is also a great time to clean out your house and get organized.

Here are some tips on getting your house in shape for the rest of the year:

  • Throw away trash! I know this seems simple, but some jobs look extremely daunting at first. Getting rid of the trash makes a job a lot easier.
  • 1-year-rule: If you haven’t used something in a year, it’s not worth keeping. Donate or toss it in the trash.
  • Sort your clothes that you haven’t worn in years or that are tattered.
  • Don’t keep broken or in projects in need of repair. If you haven’t fixed them by now, it’s highly unlikely you’ll be getting around to it anytime soon.

For a really messy room, take everything out and start fresh. Bring in organization tools for the closets and such to help get the job done.

Spring cleaning is also great for putting away all those winter decorations and clothes and putting out the fun spring and summer items.

Get out and enjoy the beautiful weather! Beaches, biking, hiking and picnics are fun and inexpensive activities to enjoy the outdoors. Have fun!

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“The Voice of the Internet” is a website I visit daily. Unlike Digg, Fark or Drudge Report, I prefer Reddit for the simple and easy to navigate design.

First off, Reddit hardly contains any distracting advertising. It has a list of links to websites, pictures justified on the left hand side where it is easy to skim through and select what you would like to read more about. Advertising is usually located on the right-hand of the screen when displayed and as a top ‘sponsored’ link.

Reddit uses a simple color for the background and uses blue for links and as an accent in certain places. Reddit uses a simple font- nothing fancy or difficult to read.

With a list format similar to Fark and Digg, Reddit stands out with its extremely simple format of text and links.

A popular discussion recently on Reddit was about revamping the website. Many avid Reddit users disagree with a change as Digg recently changed their design and lost tons of readers. Reddit readers enjoy this website because of it’s simplicity and easy navigation.

If I were to make changes to Reddit’s layout, I would make an option for users to login to their account and have customized layouts. This way users who want to change the appearance will be satisfied and it can stay the same for those who like it just as it is.

Again, one of the main things I love about Reddit is how simple and easy it is to use. When you first visit, you are greeted by numerous links to click upon. There are also links at the top of the page explaining the different sections of the website you can venture into. I like how these are separated into different sections so I can find something that interests me quickly, where it be news, funny pictures and comics or advice posts.

Joining is also extremely easy without any hassle or long annoying process. Registering for Reddit literally only takes a few seconds. Reddit does not require you create an account with your email and I like knowing Reddit will not be selling or spamming with email with advertisements.

Finally, one of the design elements I find important is the ranking system of websites or picture submissions and comments. This allow readers to rank the submissions higher or lower and it will appear on the website accordingly. I feel this is a great feature because the submissions enjoyed the most will be the highest featured and not just the most recent boring story I do not care to read. Reddit readers communicate about every subject featured on the site and have a great sense of community. Alongside the newsworthy and comedic photos, I greatly enjoy reading the ‘Ask Reddit,’ where users submit an issue or question they want advice from Reddit users.

Reddit is very interesting in how it continues to gain popularity with such a simple website design. Most would believe that in this 21st Century, only websites created in flash with interesting things to look at in every pixel would be thriving, but Reddit just goes to show that isn’t always the case.

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Light and Linens

Spring air is refreshing and is one of the best times for projects to be done before the summer heat. Creating your own blackout drapes is actually a lot easier than one might first think! Most blackout drapes are only available in solid boring colors with suede fabric that collects dust and pet fur. For less than the cost of blackout drapes, you can purchase fabric and Roc-lon, a flame retardant drapery lining. Roc-lon also is available in different widths so you can choose how much light you want to show through.

Sew the Roc-lon to the fabric.

I created curtains for my sliding glass doors as they were letting an extreme amount of heat in each day. I went to my favorite local fabric store and purchased fabric that I thought would work best with my living room. I started by looking in the clearance bins and ended up finding exactly what I wanted for half the price!

Sew the edges to prevent fraying.

First measure exactly how high you want the curtains on the wall and give approximately 7 inches more for the rod and a seam around the edge on the bottom. When working with such large pieces, lay the side you want exposed to the room down, flat on the floor. Pin the edges for the seam and to prevent fraying and sew. With the curtain fabric face down, lay the Roc-lon on top of the fabric and pin the top, folding over the fabric approximating 3 inches for the curtain rod. Do not sew seams on the Roc-lon as it is will not fray with astraight scissored cut.

Hang the rod and curtains and it’s finished! You have created customized blackout curtains for a fraction of the cost and can now stay cool all summer long.

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Chalk It Up!'s Thrifty Chalkboard

Chalkboards do not always have to be for teachers, they can be used to decorate too! Chalkboards are great for daily family reminders or for month-long activities.

Chalkboards can be insanely fun and leave an incredible amount of room for creativity. By mounting the chalkboard by the door allows all the members of the family pass by it before leaving for the day and be aware of any notes left behind.

You do not have purchase a big and boring chalkboard from the store as you can create your own in little to no time.

You can get creative with finding a frame that fits your design. You can either purchase frame wood from your local home-improvement store or you can find an old picture frame at second hand stores, such as Goodwill or Savers. Pictures frames are usually cheap at these stores as they are missing the glass that isn’t needed for this project. Remember, don’t worry about color! You can paint it any shade and can add any kind of embellishments or frills.

After you have the frame in the exact size you want, trace the area inside of the frame on the wall. Purchase chalkboard paint in your desired color at a home-improvement store and paint it in the traced area. After it dries, nail the frame to the wall and you have the perfect chalkboard made just for your needs.

Don’t let the frame limit you! If you’re adventurous enough, paint an entire wall into a chalkboard. The children will love being artists and you will constantly have darling new artwork.

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