EDITOR’S NOTE: So about 10 years ago I started this blog — jenniferelliott14.com — and I never thought I would reach this milestone. 10 years! Holy cow! What started out as a way to connect with my readers of my only published book, “Vodka Four,” which by the way don’t read it because it’s not my best work, has evolved into posts about DIY and refashion projects. I’m still writing, just not as much as I want to since I’m easily distracted by Pinterest. Thank you to everyone who continues to read my blog, and here’s to another 10 years.

What is a question that people ask you that always gets on your nerves?
2007: When will you find a boyfriend?
2017: How’s Iowa?

Name something you have in common with your siblings.
2007: We’re all bossy and demanding, and we admit it. Although I think Becky will deny the accusation, but she is pretty bossy and demanding.
2017: We’re still pretty opinionated.

What is the greatest amount of physical pain you have ever had to endure?
2007: Menstrual cramps. Hey, cramps really hurt!
2017: I have never given birth or been run over by a car so I will still stick with menstrual cramps.

What number of drinks constitutes your limit?
2007: Four or five.
2017: I’d still go with four or five.

Do you fold your underwear?
2007: No.
2017: The answer is still no.

Who was the last person you wrote a letter to via snail mail?
2007: I have no idea. No, wait, either my friend, Jeanne, or my sister, Becky … it was a small letter saying thanks for reading my book or something.
2017: Do little notes in a care package count? I sent a care package to a friend about a month ago with little post-it notes stuck to some presents.

Name someone you consider a genius.
2007: Creators of MySpace, Google … anyone who thinks outside of the box.
2017: Dan Harmon, creator of the TV shows Community and Rick and Morty.

Name a sound that disturbs you.
2007: Nails on a chalkboard, someone hurling …
2017: Nails on a chalkboard.

Name something random that you would never do.
2007: Go swimming with sharks without a cage to protect me.
2017: I would never be involved in a KKK rally or stand in line to meet President Donald Trump.

Have you ever had the same dream more than once?
2007: Yes. And do you know what’s weird? When I’m dreaming and I realize that I’ve been through this dream before, I either take different routes to save my butt (during an action adventure dream) or make the same decision to get to the happy ending.
2017: Yes. I dream about working at the newspaper again and feel terrified when the expectations are still the same even though I haven’t paginated anything in years.

Name something that makes you happy.
2007: My cats when they sleep next to me.
2017: When my cats cuddle with me. When I’m painting or sewing or watching a movie.

If you were in an emergency situation where a woman was in labor, would you be able to deliver the baby?
2007: As long as I didn’t faint, I think I would be able to deliver the baby. That’s a huge maybe. I’m not fond of other people’s blood.
2017: My mind goes completely blank in emergency situations. I would absolutely be useless, but if push came to shove, maybe I could deliver a baby? Again, a huge maybe.

If someone who didn’t know you had to guess your name, what would it be?
2007: Kim
2017: Probably still Kim.

Name a movie you’re looking forward to watching.
2007: Superbad
2017: Pitch Perfect 3! I love Anna Kendrick so much!

Name the last movie you watched.
2007: Live Free or Die Hard
2017: Kong: Skull Island with Tom Hiddleston and Brie Larson.

What movie do you know every line to?
2007: The Cutting Edge and When Harry Met Sally. I know all the songs in The Sound of Music.
2017: Never watch The Cutting Edge with me because I will quote the entire movie.

What CD are you currently listening to you?
2007: Daughtry’s self titled CD
2017: I haven’t bought a CD for years, but I haven’t liked any of Taylor Swift’s new songs from her latest album, Reputation, which is a little disappointing.

How many hours of sleep do you need to function?
2007: Eight to 10 hours … I am not pretty with anything less than that.
2017: I still stand by this answer 10 years later.

Do you sleep on your side, stomach, or back?
2007: I start out sleeping on my stomach, but when morning comes, I’m on my back.
2017: My sleeping routine hasn’t changed in 10 years except I wear a CPAP now.

Are you picky about spelling and grammar?
2007: I’m a writer … yes.
2017: 10 years later, I find myself editing my friends’ Facebook posts and Christmas letters. I’m the worst.

Who was the last person that made you mad?
2007: Whoever asked me when I will find a boyfriend.
2017: The doctor who said my husband could be discharged from his last hospital visit but wasn’t around to approve the order.

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
2007: To be naturally skinny.
2017: To be naturally skinny is still a good answer.


CUTE DENIM SHORTS FOR SUMMER! I’m back on my sewing machine, and it feels sooooo good. I’ve missed my sewing machine so much. My new workroom isn’t perfectly set up or clean, but the setup works for quick projects. I have a huge pile of clothes that need some attention for refashions, but somehow that doesn’t stop me from buying new clothes I find on clearance racks.

I purchased this pair of men’s denim shorts on clearance, knowing I could easily refashion them into a pair of cute shorts for me. I had refashioned a pair of men’s jeans into shorts, but the inseam was so incredibly tiny that I felt really uncomfortable pulling the hem down in public whenever it rode up when I walked or moved. Short girl problems, I guess.

I basically marked the length that I’m comfortable with and made a cut a few inches below the mark for the rolled cuff. I think I look ridiculously cute in shorts with a rolled cuff instead of a basic hem. As I created the rolled cuff I kept an eye on the inseam, making sure it wasn’t super tiny. Once the cuffs were pinned in place, I sewed it down and tried on my new pair of jeans shorts. I look really cute in jean shorts and tee — hello, summer!

THE SUPER BIG DENIM SKIRT: With some time to waste one day, I wandered into a somewhat spendy retail store that I normally don’t visit. But on this particular day, a staff member informed me of the ADDITIONAL 40% off clearance items. I immediately headed toward the clearance racks and started rummaging through the goods. I had a refashioned denim skirt once upon a time, but for some reason, I wasn’t thrilled with it. I fell in love with the simplicity and the white embroidered hem on this denim skirt that I grabbed for $6 (plus it was the last one on the rack!).

The biggest issue I faced with refashioning this skirt was the size — it was seriously way too big for me. When I tried the skirt on, my husband laughed at me at the enormous size and gave me permission to pay full price for skirt that would actually fit me without any alterations. I have the best husband ever. Normally, I would create a new side seam, but this meant either losing or making the front pocket incredibly small. With the skirt inside out, I studied the original side seams, pinned the extra fabric, and sewed a new original seam (if that makes any sense).

I also focused on making sure the back pockets weren’t sewn into the new side seam as I cut out a good chunk of fabric from the skirt. And I made sure the back pockets were still somewhat centered. Once the skirt fit perfectly, I debated whether I should shorten it a few inches. The original length was fine, but a few inches shorter would be near perfection. So, I took a few inches off and kept the beautiful embroidered hem and now I have the perfect jean skirt. I can dress it down with a simple tee or dress it up with a cami and cardigan or a sweater. The skirt is perfect.


So sorry for the lack of posts over the past month, my “can do” attitude sort of vanished as the days passed. I have kept busy unpacking various boxes here and there and trying to find a home for all the stuff Charlie and I have accumulated over the years. My spanking brand new scanner diverted my attention, turning old photos into digital copies and creating new digital photo books with old pictures. I get distracted so easily … look a squirrel!

Anyway, I am still in love with the house just not all the responsibilities that come with it (i.e. mowing the large lawn). The guest bedroom, which has become a dumping place for all of Charlie’s packed boxes and hasn’t been fully decorated, has welcomed two different sets of visitors seeking a bed and privacy. The cats are doing just fine with all the extra space to run, hide, and fight even when some doors are closed (particularly my bathroom where Riley can open the drawer containing my hair accessories).

Despite a busy holiday schedule I have a couple of projects that need my attention now that my new workroom is somewhat clean and I can finally set up my sewing machine! I have a huge stack of clothes that need some work, and I have been yearning to hear the hum of my sewing machine and finally learn to use my new serger. Life is good. Busy. But good.


The white laminated stand belonged to Charlie and followed him into our first place together. I think he wanted to throw it out during the first move, but I knew it could be used at the new place. For about five years, the stand held the bath towels and Riley when he needed somewhere to nap. After discovering Riley could open the front doors and slept among the clean towels, a baby proof lock was looped into the handles.

The white cabinet stand followed us to Iowa, where it was kept in the second bedroom next to the bathroom and held the office supplies. Because the second bedroom served as a workroom with wires, pins, needles, and other dangerous stuff for cats, the door was always closed and the stand didn’t need to match the living room decor. With a house and with more space, the cabinet stand will be visible in any room.

With my painting mode in full swing (three items and counting), I decided to tackle the cabinet stand, with the drawer serving as my test dummy. With the surface shiny and smooth, was a primer needed? The answer is yes. Did I use one? No. I headed directly straight to the brown paint and discovered it could be easily chipped off once dry. A little research on the interweb advised priming and sanding was needed with laminate furniture.

Along with some old paints and stains, the previous homeowners had left behind a can of primer. Yay! A primer for ALL SURFACES! After scrapping and sanding off the brown paint, I slathered the surface of the drawer with one coat of primer because I didn’t know if it needed more than one coat. Once the primer had dried, the drawer was hit again with brown paint until I was happy with the results.

I worked on the drawer when I wasn’t painting the old stereo stand, and so when the stereo stand was finished with clear top coat spray paint the drawer was sprayed with it too. To be honest, I don’t think I like the clear top coat spray paint because it feels sticky even after a few days of drying in the sun. Charlie suggested the humid weather may have been a factor and maybe the pieces should have dried in the garage. Lesson learned. I guess.

*sigh* Sometimes I make life more difficult because of these three words, “I wonder if … ” I used the small can of primer on the drawer, but then I thought, “I wonder if the leftover paint plus primer would work on the cabinet stand?” Another great question: “I wonder if the paint plus primer is the same as primer?” The answer is not really. Because after painting a small part with the paint plus primer, I tested the area with brown paint and dragged my fingernail over it when the area was completely dry. The brown paint could still be chipped or peeled off!

Riley usually likes to keep an eye on me when I paint outside on the backyard patio. When the test patch of paint plus primer didn’t work out, I covered the cabinet stand with primer from a spray can, which I don’t recommend using even on a slightly windy day. I would make a terrible graffiti artist, not being able to fully control the dumb spray can (the wind probably was a factor too).

If I had only ignored all the “I wonder if” questions, the cabinet stand might have been finished by now. Seriously. Ugh. I painted whenever I had a chance or at least the ambition. Even after all this effort to make the cabinet stand match the rest of the decor, I think this house is its final resting place. Even with a top coat of sealant, I don’t think the paint will hold up for another move.

Almost done! Woot! After spending hours painting, the cabinet stand needed hours to fully dry before repainting and touch ups. When I wasn’t outside on the back patio, a couple of pesky little chipmunks found refuge underneath my project, cracking open sunflower seeds. After several coats of paints and more touch ups than I could ever possibly imagine, the top coat was finally sprayed on several times over two to three days.

And sorry for the less than stellar “after” picture, but the cabinet stand has already been put to good use. My paint projects have been dwindling (yay! or yay?), but the responsibilities of being a homeowner has been keeping me busy (mowing the big front and back yards — booooooooo — and finding home for all our stuff). My big project or distraction of the moment is scanning old photos and saving them to my computer. Knocking on wood that my computer doesn’t crash.  🙂




I picked up this lovely wooden magazine rack for $3 at the local Salvation Army, hoping it would serve as a temporary end table next to my side of the reclining couch. The rack was in good shape, with the knobby end pieces needing to be tightened and the bottom shelf piece needing glue or nails to keep from sliding back and forth. When Charlie inspected my new purchase, he kindly offered to attach a piece of leftover wood to the bottom shelf for stabilization. I love my husband so much.

As soon as Charlie cut and nailed the extra piece of wood to the bottom of the magazine rack, I started priming it with some leftover yellow paint from the kitchen paint project. I was searching for ideas and inspiration on Pinterest about repainting the magazine rack when I briefly glanced at a picture tutorial of adding stickers to the side and painting over them for a textured look. Hmmmmm. I can do that!

Luckily, a packet of heart stickers were just lying around the kitchen counter because I hadn’t found a place for them in my completely unorganized workroom. Eight hearts in the package. Four hearts to each side. I think these stickers were meant for this project! Having the hearts simply run down the side was a simple but pretty design, and I didn’t waste time with a ruler — I just eyeballed the space between the hearts.

I’m really not looking for pure perfection with the sticker placement or my paint job for that matter. As long as the paint drips aren’t too big or outrageous, I’m totally cool with small imperfections. I found myself itching to work on the project during the evenings, which meant sitting in the basement with the box fan. Fortunately, the cats had no desire to help or bother me so I was safe for a few days.

I think I have a magazine rack addiction. After having lunch with a friend and her adorable 1-year-old kid a few weeks after picking up the first magazine rack, we ended up at the Salvation Army store and I nabbed TWO more wooden racks! The darker colored one was $3 — and I would’ve been cool with paying that — but it had a 50% off sticker. No internal debate was necessary. And I didn’t need to talk myself into buying the second rack for the full price of $3.

Was yellow too babyish? Too bright? Charlie suggested placing one of the magazine racks next to the couch and looking at it among the surrounding. My husband is a smart man. I followed his suggestion when the magazine rack was dry enough to handle, and I was pleasantly surprised how much I like the pop of yellow in the sea of rich brown decor. Satisfied yellow was the correct color choice, I continued to paint two of the three racks.

For now the first newly painted magazine rack sits beside my side of the couch and holds my laptop until I can find end tables that meet my high expectations. I’m really happy that I stuck with yellow because it pops next to the brown couch and matches the curtains. The rack is perfect for housing my laptop instead of leaving it on the couch’s armrest. One yellow magazine rack down two more to go.

The second wooden magazine rack was in good shape but it was a little rough around the edges — literally. Maybe whoever made it was aiming for a rustic look because some areas definitely needed sandpaper. After sanding some areas here and there, I simply gave the second magazine rack a few coats of yellow paint over the course of a few days. Now, it sits in one of the bathrooms holding extra rolls of toilet paper. And the third and final magazine rack? Well, that one deserves its own post. Stay tuned.