Old Door to Desk Tutorial

Door-to-Desk Tutorial- thedomesticlady.com

My husband and I created this DIY project because of a need to provide a handicap accessible desk for Mitchell’s Project (part 1 and part 2).

Because Mitchell already had so much special equipment to make his life easier, I wanted a masculine, sleek but yet rustic desk that also happened to be handicap accessible rather than just going out and buying a handicap desk.

We considered using plexiglass or traditional glass as the top, but both were extremely heavy and very hard to transport.

So instead we decided to go with a clear epoxy finish.

While it was a multi-step process, the finished project was well worth it!

 The first thing you need to know is that this is not a quickie 1 hr DIY project.

Take your time, thoroughly read the epoxy instructions, don’t rush.

The process is not difficult; you just need to understand it before you get started.

Because of some user error, it took about 2 weeks from beginning to end.

Partly because we used several coats of poly on the trim and because we had to reorder more epoxy halfway through.

Here is what you will need:

The door we used was very “rustic.” It had quite a few worn places in it that epoxy would be able to leak through so my husband started by making sure the desk was leak proof. He simply filled the holes with wood filler.

Then we went to the hardware store to purchase 2″ trim to give the desk a nice smooth finished edge.

(depending on the thickness of the door you choose to may need different trim width)

We wanted to have 1/8″ lip above the door so that the epoxy would cover the door entirely.


He then attached the trim to all four sides of the door with wood screws.

After the trim was in place, he used more wood filler and sandpaper to make it smooth.

Next he carefully stained the trim with Minwax Ebony stain.

Once the stain was dry, he gave the trim four coats of polyurethane.

 After the poly was dry, he removed all the dust and debris from the door top.

And then it was FINALLY time for the epoxy.


I could give you the detailed play-by-play of the epoxy process, but the videos on bestbartopepoxy.com are so thorough that I suggest you watch them instead.

*****Follow all the instructions for the best results*****




Once all the layers of epoxy were complete we allowed it to cure for 72 hours at 75°F by using a space heater in our basement.


Then we simply attached the workbench legs.


The finished product was better than we even imagined.

I highly recommend this process. The results are amazing!

My Cheap Chic Wedding Outfit | thedomesticlady.com

Around Thanksgiving my baby brother James and his girlfriend  Virginia surprised my family with the news that they would be getting married Christmas Eve.


While the fact that they would be getting married was not a surprise (they have only been “dating” since 6th grade or so), the fact that the formal wedding was only 30 days away was a surprise.

And like any girly girl my first thought was “What will I wear?”

And since it is Christmas time which is usually very expensive I set out to make my outfit as inexpensive as possible.

I purchased this jumpsuit from Target which I thought was really cute and appropriate for a formal evening wedding.

But unfortunately it had REALLY ugly buttons on it (not pictured in the photo online). They looked like spikes from a dog collar.



So I took a trip to Hobby Lobby for some buttons for about $2.


I simply replaced the buttons and had a new outfit for the wedding for under $25!

And of course I forgot to get a picture of myself in the outfit but I promise it was cute :)

Congrats James and Virginia!

photo stolen from my sister-in-law’s facebook page :)

Retail Therapy: How I Save Up To 35% On Household Products (without coupons)

Amazon Subscribe and Save

While I will always be a faithful Publix and Trader Joe customer when it comes to everyday food items and BOGO deals, I just had to make a change in my buying habits on big dollar necessary evils.

Paper Towels

Toilet Paper

Dish Detergent

Laundry Detergent


I don’t coupon much for three reasons.

#1 I don’t have enough time to dedicate to it to make it worth it (aka I would rather be blogging, working, cooking or really anything other than couponing).

#2 I don’t have patience (aka printing coupons makes me want to pull my hair out).

#3 I am not organized enough(aka couponing and menu planning at the same time is enough to make me go crazy, especially after a long work week).

Don’t get me wrong. I LOVE a great deal, but I also value my free time.

So I started a subscription service through Amazon.

It’s called Subscribe and Save (they also have one specifically for diapers and baby products called Amazon Mom).

The gist of the programs is:

subscribe to receive specific products through the program (you choose how often),

get 5% discount off the already low bulk Amazon pricing,

order 5 or more items with the same delivery schedule and receive an additional 10% off you whole order

with free shipping.

So my order above includes brands and items I regularly buy at Target.

But this time I ordered them through the Subscribe and Save program.

I saved 35.6% off my order compared to regular Targets prices; I was shocked at the savings.

And I did’t have to wait for sales or look for coupons.

Best of all, all those products were waiting for me at my front door when I got off work last Wednesday.

I love knowing that I don’t have to remember to buy TP, dog treats or paper towels!

Yay for convenient cheap.

PS. if you are a Amazon Mom/Prime member you can even save an additional 5% off entire orders.

PSS. You can cancel or change your subscription at any time.


Our Cheap Chic Wedding Album

I made a pact with myself after I received all my wedding photos from my friend Mary.

I made a pact that I WOULD turn the photos into a simple album at some point.

That the disk with all the wedding memories would not just go into a drawer somewhere in our house.

Well over the last month, I finally got around to putting all the photos into an online album and then organized them through Artifact Uprising.

And I received the finished product in the mail last Friday.

I could not be happier with it! It is so timeless looking.

It’s gorgeous, and the images are beautiful on every page.

The whole wedding album project cost me about $15 plus a few dollars in shipping after I used the new customer coupon code.

Yep, you read that right $15 for a custom album (the quality does not even compare to the cheap drug store photo albums you can order).

I choose the 5×5 size with a soft cover.


I used the maximum allowed pages for the wedding album and then I also put together a book with our engagement photos, therefore saving on shipping costs that I would have had to pay with two separate orders.


I found the whole process to be VERY easy. Artifact has definitely streamlined their website. The hardest part was choosing which photos to use because there were SO many I loved.


It was fun going through all the pictures from the last two years since we got engaged. And since there is an option to add text so I also added our engagement story.

photos by Mary Campbell
photos by Mary Campbell
photos by Mary Campbell
photos by Mary Campbell

If you are in the market for printing photos I highly recommend Artifact Uprising. I could not have been more pleased.

Happy Wednesday!

PS this would make a great inexpensive Mothers/Fathers Day gift. I know your dad would appreciate it more than a tie.  :)

 Disclaimer: I was not paid for this review. All opinions are my own.

Monday Randomness: Bed and Breakfast on Tiffany Hill

My husband and I are on a much needed extended weekend away.

I got an AMAZING deal through Living Social combined with 6% back from ebates.com, and a coupon code for a 2 night stay at the Bed and Breakfast on Tiffany Hill.


My total was basically half off because of the off season and a Sunday through Tuesday stay.

And the accommodations are fantastic! Like one of the nicest places I have stayed ever!

Check out their website!

The B&B is located in Mills River, NC which is about 15 min outside Brevard, and about 20 minutes away from Asheville, in other words it’s super convenient.

We are planning to hit up a couple of our favorite restaurants plus try a few new ones.



And my favorite,

Doc Cheys.


I have been looking forward to this weekend away for a while, and it is just as relaxing as I had hoped.

And the best part is it’s my favorite kind of vacation: only 1 hour from home and I didn’t have to get on a plane!

Happy Monday!

PS If you want to read about other thrifty places we have stayed go here,  here, here and here.

Home Improvement: Painting Our Kitchen Cabinets, Part 2 of 3

I posted about painting my kitchen cabinets back in November.

And I had planned to paint them in December.

I really had good intentions.

But then life got in the way.

Better late than never, I started attacking them this past weekend.

The change (in my mind anyway) is huge already, and I have not even opened a paint can.

I removed the knick-knack display shelves on either side of the sink and the one awkward cabinet to the left of the sink.

I am going to replace the cabinet with three floating shelves for drinking glasses, plates and cereal bowls.

Overstock, $47.00

Here is the progress so far:



IMG_20140301_120046_180_zpsiubn8l9c (1)



I can’t believe how much more natural light fills the room already.

When I started applying the paint I started freaking out a little…or a lot.

But since I did a practice run on an old cabinet the night before, I knew what to expect sort of.

Of course, once it dried it looked tons better.

And now I feel confident I didn’t just ruin our kitchen cabinets.

I hope to knock out the whole project in a few weeks.


And in case you were wondering what my husband was doing while I was taking down wall cabinets…

he was trying out his new chainsaw by cutting down some halfway fallen trees in our back yard.

My Look-A-Like Minted 2013 Photo Collage for FREE


Disclaimer: if you are not slightly computer savvy this project may be too technical for you.

But hey, I have never taken a real computer class, and now I blog so there is hope for us all.

Anyway, I was recently inspired by the photo collage above by Minted. But at $35 for a printed copy, I was not interested.

Then I got to thinking about the free super user friendly photo editing site I use called PicMonkey.

So I picked the free collage option on PicMonkey and started weeding through this year’s photos from trips, facebook selfies etc until I came up with 16 photos that really described our year.

I uploaded all the photos to the collage.

pic monkey

And then I simply saved the collage to my desktop.

2013 Collage

And then I opened a blank word doc, and clicked “insert picture.”

And voila, my collage was now centered on a 8×11 sheet of “paper.”

Then I added the year to the lower right hand corner by inserting a “text box.”



And then I simply printed my document. (You could even do this whole project in black and white for a different effect).

Then I just found a 8×10 frame in my frame stash, trimmed the paper to the correct size and tada!
Basically free art work vs $35 plus shipping.

I think that is pretty cheap chic.

Minted Lookalike Art

Have a great weekend!


Quick Meal Prep and Buying Meat in Bulk

This is a oldie but a goodie blog post. I have started using this method again recently and I forgot how easy it makes meal planning. Give it a try.

Originally posted 2/12: I have a problem. I am have obsession with marinated meat: all forms.

From chicken breasts to tenderloin, I love it all.

Any grilled meat that soaked overnight in Italian dressing causes me to swoon.

My obsession is inherited from my father.

And my dad does his own grocery shopping in regards to his marinating regime.

To this day, my mother groans when my dad announces that he is going grocery shopping.

Dad’s Typical Shopping Trip when I was a Kid:

1 Gallon of soy sauce

12 bottles of Italian dressing

12 bottles of BBQ sauce

1/2 Gallon of Miracle Whip (gross)

1 Gallon of bread and butter pickles

1 Gallon of dill pickles

and more navel oranges than a family of nine can eat.

We don’t know why he bought large quantities of pickles and Miracle Whip(again, gross).

Perhaps he bought navel oranges because he thought that we would get scurvy from eating only pickles and sandwich spread, but I do know why he buys salad dressing and soy sauce.

He is the Marinating King! I digress….

Art work by drywell art @ etsy

I try to be cost-effective when I grocery shop, especially when I buy meat.

Buying it in large packages when it’s on sale  and then freezing it is great.

My dilemma is that I get home from work at 6:30 with a freezer full of meat but no real plan of action, just a hungry stomach.

Because of this, I have come up with a game plan. Buy meat in bulk, place meal sized portions in freezer bags, add Miracle Whip marinade or seasonings to the bag, label it, and then freeze. The beauty of this plan is that I transfer the meat from the freezer to the frig before I leave for work in the morning. Viola! By 6:30 I have a thawed, seasoned meat ready to be made into something yummy.

Here are a few of the marinade or seasoning combinations I use with the meat before I freeze it:

Oriental Meals(chicken or beef): sesame oil, soy sauce, brown sugar(or honey), fresh or powdered garlic, and pepper

Mexican Meals(chicken, pork or fish for tacos): canola oil, hot sauce or salsa, lime juice, garlic, cumin, salt and pepper

Italian Meals (chicken or shrimp): dried Herbs de Provence or dried Oregano and Basil, olive oil, garlic, white or red wine vinegar

Oven fried chicken: milk and lemon juice (or buttermilk), lots of cracked pepper and Lawry’s seasoning salt

Next time you see a package of 12 fresh chicken breasts for a steal, buy them! And use my method. You will love it! Promise.

Retail Therapy: Let’s Talk Hair Products, Argan Oil

I have fine semi curly hair that is VERY easily damaged by the sun, gets split ends CONSTANTLY and is greatly affected by humidity (hello SC summers, I am looking at you).

So I am always looking for products to help with hair hydration.

BUT I am also super high maintenance about how my hair feels; I don’t like heavy conditioners and oils.

And I am sure you have heard the hype about Moroccanoil product line of argan oils and the like.

When I read the Pioneer Woman’s review,I put on my fancy pants and I actually considered buying it.

And then I was like, “Wait a second, until I have a show on the Food Network I don’t need to buy high dollar hair products.”

While I am sure it’s wonderful stuff, I just can’t justify spending that much dinero on potions for my hair.

But a few months ago while still sporting my unemployed by Food Network, dried out, frizzy hair I was perusing the aisles at Target when I spotted this similar  but less expensive product line called Organix.

So I picked up some keratin/argan oil and some deep conditioner hair mask.

Argon Oil- is it worth the cost

1, 2, 3, 4

The verdict is: I am hooked on the Organix product line. It works great and smells AMAZING. And my husband even likes to use it (shh don’t tell).

I could tell a difference in my hair after the first day of using the light keratin oil.

So I saved myself $105.64 for a grand total of $11.76 plus tax. That’s pretty chic cheap if you ask me.

If you are in the market for hair potions, check them out the next time you are at Target or these other retailers.

Happy Friday and have a great weekend.