June 1, 2017

Do you see that exclamation point firmly planted in the title of this post? That is because this is maybe one of my favorite diy’s I’ve done. It has completely opened my options for how I shop for rugs. And it transformed a mass produced one into something that feels much more expensive and vintage.

We have this 9×12 in our living room and I like it for its persian-y feel. I knew if I could swing adding some tassels it would go from good to awesome. (Although I paid about $500, upon writing this post I see the price for the 9×12 is down to $279 for a closeout sale!)


For my tassels, I searched for something sturdier than yarn, but softer than twine. And I wanted a white, which is one of the secondary colors in the rug. I found this sugar’n cream yarn in ecru at hobby lobby to be perfect. (Or here it is on amazon too). I bought a big one pound spool for $14 and you know with that 40% coupon lifestyle it was even cheaper. (I thought that would be way more than I needed, but I ended up using about half of it.) The only other tool needed is a latch hook like this one. I also got mine at hobby lobby, where it was like $2.

The process is very easy. I cut the string into seven inch pieces. (After some testing, I found that was the best length for the scale I liked. It ends up being about half that size in tassel form because you fold it in half, as you’ll see.) On the edge of the rug, I count out every five threads and then grab two threads (so threads number six and seven) with the rug hook. Fold two strings in half and around hook. Pull strings through rug threads. Remove hook. Put ends of string through loop and pull tight.

The pictures explain it best!


To complete the first side of the rug it was about eleven hours. And three of those hours was the first foot! It took a while to experiment with my technique and get going, but by the end you’ll be so much faster. The whole second side took me only six hours.

For me that is a long project, but when I think of most knitting, crochet, cross stitch, quilting-type things, that seems to be on par with how it goes. (Knitters, I wish I could be you.)


One way I thought about this project (and how I often think when we are diy-ing) is how much I get “paid” per hour. This rug was $500, but with the changes I made to it, I feel like it looks more like an antique persian that of this size would have easily cost $3,000. So for working seventeen hours total, I “earned” about $150 an hour (and the materials were negligible in cost). I know there are other factors, but I find this way of thinking inspiring.

Along with making the rug look much nicer, it adds a surprisingly large amount of texture and character to the room. I used to say our old brown love seat didn’t bother me that much, but the better everything else starts looking the more it stands out as not right in here. I just may begin love seat shopping. (Yes!!/Oy.)


May 22, 2017

The kitchen and living room are where I spend most of my waking hours, so I have been prioritizing scheduling projects in those rooms. The biggest bummer for me in our kitchen is that it is a cream and brown wonderland. And this girl loves bright white kitchens. I started with the easiest fix, painting the walls from a yellow cream to the whitest white I could get.

The remaining beige offenders are the cabinets, counters, and backsplash. Those will be a bit more of a job to tackle, but I plan to make the changes affordably. Painting the cabinets would be the most work, so I decided to first do the backsplash or counters. For the changes we are going to do on the backsplash we will need to use some not pregnancy safe products, which is not an option right now. So counters it is!

The counters being done may actually make one of the biggest changes, because while most things are cream, the counters are dark brown. (I get the appeal of wanting to hide dirt, but the speckled look of these make it so I have to strain to tell if they are clean while scrubbing them!)


I have seen many concrete counter transformations (I found this one’s tutorial most helpful) and almost all of them are in gray concrete. I was simply tickled to find a white concrete option. All white er’rying thing in our house, please. (Not really, but kind of.)

You can find the gray concrete like anywhere, even on amazon, and a 10 pound bag is only $30. And for housewives like me who just feast on amazon prime you get the free shipping and it arrives fast. White concrete is a bit tougher to find, but the best price I sourced was here at $40 a bag and $12.50 for shipping me two bags. (And it still came fast!) About $30 more to have white instead of gray, but to me picking between those colors is not even a choice.

At the beginning of our project, I tried something new and sort of formally typed up a full little report and printed it out. I researched and listed out a materials list, step by step process, time estimate, and cost estimate. It was useful to organize my thoughts and our schedule. Even though the information was already generally in our heads, printing out a hard copy made the scope of the project clearer and simpler for both of us. I think I will do it for more projects in the future.


These materials are for about 32.5 square feet of countertop.

  1. Ardex feather finish concrete (two 10 pound bags)
  2. Measuring bucket
  3. 60 and 220 grit sandpaper
  4. Trowel
  5. 12″ drywall knife
  6. 4″ putty knife
  7. 1 quart 511 impregnator sealer
  8. 1 quart safecoat acrylacq


8 work days plus 3 days for final curing

  1. Friday – Prep and first coat of concrete
  2. Saturday – Second coat concrete
  3. Monday – Third coat concrete
  4. Tuesday – Fourth coat concrete
  5. Wednesday – First coat 511 impregnator sealer
  6. Thursday – Second coat 511 impregnator sealer
  7. Friday – First coat acrylacq
  8. Saturday – Second and third coat acrylacq


To prepare for concrete, we did a thorough clearing and scrubbing of the laminate counters. Then we passed over with 60 grit sand paper to rough them up. For each coat of concrete, we mix the concrete powder with water in our bucket and spread onto the counter with the drywall and putty knives. Then we let that layer dry overnight.

This photo is after the first coat, before sanding. If you try this project, take heart that the first coat takes by far the longest to apply!


At the start of the next coat we sanded again with the 60 grit sandpaper, vacuumed and swept to keep tidy, and applied another coat. We did four coats over four days. Our sink is elevated, so we opted to not remove it and just apply the concrete evenly along its sides.

For sealing, we used two layers of 511 impregnator sealer, which we brushed on and let dry for 24 hours between coats. That was followed by three coats of acrylacq, which needs 12 hours to cure for each, and then three days for a final cure after the last coat. Once that was complete, we had our counters back! This below photo is after the 511 impregnantor and before the acrylacq.


Before we put on the 511 impregnator and it was just raw concrete, I got a drop of water on the counters and it soaked in immediately and left a wet spot that had to dry. After using the impregnator, I spilled a drop again (oy!), but it beaded up on top of the seal (nice!). Adding the acrylacq after that only made them even more glossy and hard.

I am so in love! The cream elements in the room are still unpleasant, but the counters being changed minimizes their impact. I am replacing our entry rug and so moved that red persian in here. I think it helps distract from any cream and white clashing during this in-between phase.



Ardex concrete: $95.58
Miscellanous tools: $34.24
511 Impregnator Sealer: $25.11
Safecoat Arcylaq: $41.90

Total: $196.83

Only about $200 for what feels like completely new counters is the best! And I really like concrete.


Because it has a little of an industrial feel, I am cool with imperfections or blemishes it may acquire. (Which while still liking to own nice things, is the attitude I try and have about all my stuff.)

Backsplash and cabinets I am coming for you, maybe in the fall. And then I can say goodbye to a dine in table we have which is an off white hand me down that matches the original look, but is not where I am taking it in here. (White island with butcher block, YES.)


May 18, 2017

If you are hoping to get on the perfect summer snack plus appetizer, this fruity salsa is your gal (or guy?). These can be served with regular tortilla chips, but you kind of have to try these cinnamon sugar tortilla chips at least once because they are so easy and GOOD.

Summer, we love you. Chips and salsa, we love you. In all your beautiful ingredient manifestations.

Makes about 2 cups

1 pound strawberries, diced
3 ounces raspberries
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/4 cup red onion, minced
1/2 lime, juiced and zested
1 teaspoon jalapeno, minced

Stir together strawberries, raspberries, brown sugar, red onion, lime, and jalapeño. Serve with chips.


  • 1 pound strawberries, diced
  • 3 ounces raspberries
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • ¼ cup red onion, minced
  • ½ lime, juiced and zested
  • 1 teaspoon jalapeno, minced
  1. Stir together strawberries, raspberries, brown sugar, red onion, lime, and jalapeño.
  2. Serve with chips.


Copyright © Rachel Schultz 2017