Katy Napotnik

Mar 182013

The other day I wandered into Home Depot. I love hardware stores. I was excited to see their new big displays of plants. I had my change purse with me (that I take thrifting) and I knew I had enough to bring home a succulent. I picked up each plant, inspected each one from all angles, and finally settled on a charming little Jade. It’s cute and makes me happy.

I brought it home and was going to repot it, but the potting soil is frozen outside. Also, I didn’t really feel like repotting it. So a little laziness paired with frozen potting soil and the Jade sat in its little plastic pot, looking cute but a bit naked.

Then last night, I decided to give it a more dignified home. But I still didn’t want to repot it (and the soil was even more frozen), so I got a little creative.


My cute little 4 inch Jade. $3.98 at Home Depot.

I sat the plastic pot on some aluminum foil and wrapped the foil loosely up the sides, making an aluminum foil pot for the plastic pot to sit in. This is to catch any water that drains through the soil, since the plastic pot has lots of holes in the bottom. (Which is good, because succulents don’t like drowning). I made the foil pot a little bigger than the plastic pot, so I can lift the plant out and get rid of any water that collects in the foil.


Start making the foil pot like this, to avoid seams on the bottom that water could seep through. Wrap the foil loosely up the sides. 


The foil pot. I’m patting myself on the back for taking these progress pictures!

Then I got out my cotton clothesline to make a rope pot for the foil covered plastic pot to sit inside. I started coiling it in a circle to make the bottom, gluing as I went. Then when I had a big enough bottom, I started working upward to make the sides. I was careful not to glue the rope to the aluminum foil. So, at this point I have a plastic pot, that sits inside a foil pot, that sits inside a rope pot. Does that makes sense?


Cotton clothesline. The same thing I used in this post.


You can also see that I made the rope pot a little taller than the plastic pot. 



Charming, don’t you think? I love it. Stay tuned to see where this lovely thing is living!

Oh, and here’s the supply list…

A succulent plant in a plastic pot.

Aluminium foil.

Cotton clothesline.

Hot glue.

Have a great Monday, friends!

 March 18, 2013  Posted by at 12:11 diy 5 Responses »
Mar 172013

I’m so excited to share our Saturday afternoon project with you, but it’s not quite photo ready yet. In the meantime, I thought I’d share some photos that inspired me. I’ll share more details this coming week, but until then, here’s some inspiration. Can you guess what we did?!













Did you do any fun projects this weekend?!

 March 17, 2013  Posted by at 15:22 inspiration, our home 2 Responses »
Mar 152013


I used to get mad every time I cleaned up the office/craft room/guest room because there were 3 clunky guitar cases with no place to go. I’d grumble and shove them under the futon or in a corner. I know, such a big problem and inconvenience. A couple weeks ago, I was sitting on the sofa staring at a blank white wall and wondering what, if anything, I should hang on it. And then it came to me. The guitars!


For around $5, we have 3 guitars hanging beautifully on the wall, not shoved in corners and under futons. And since they’re out in such easy access, they get played more frequently, too!

What You Need:

Tool Hooks. They’re just ‘U’ shaped hooks. They’d usually be used to hang shovels etc. in a shed. I found them at Walmart. Less than $2 a piece. One per guitar. (The ones Home Depot had were too small for the neck of a guitar, so make sure you get ones big enough to hold the guitar).

A board. I had a 52″ board that was going to be a shelf, but never used. It was the perfect size for the 3 guitars. (I painted the board white to blend in with the wall).

2 screws to attach the board to the wall (directly into the studs so you don’t have to use anchors).

A drill.

A level or just a good eye.

A husband who does all the work while you watch ‘The Office’.


What You Do:

1. Decide where you want the guitars to hang. Then hang the board on the wall. Tristan centered it on the wall and screwed directly into the studs.

2. Since we were hanging 3 guitars, we knew the middle hook needed to be centered on the board. Tristan predrilled a hole for the hook and then twisted it in. We figured out how far apart we wanted the guitars to hang, and then he predrilled 2 more holes for the other hooks, and twisted them in.

3. Then hang the guitars and smile.

(I very lightly covered the screws that hold the board to the wall with some putty and then painted over them. Tristan assures me that we’ll still be able to unscrew the board from the wall when the time comes. It does look nicer and more seamless to hide the screw heads. If you want to get fancy, you could always sink the heads in a bit and then use those screw head cover sticker things to disguise them).


And there you have it! A display that’s both pretty and functional… and cheap! Any guitar players out there? How do you store your guitars?

 March 15, 2013  Posted by at 12:11 diy, our home 1 Response »
Mar 142013

How’s that for a wordy title?!

I’ve started seeing a trend every time my sweet friend, Jill, comes over. After each visit (or sometimes during), I end up painting something black. Last week it was my whole kitchen. This week it was a section of the guest room/office/craft room. When Tristan came home and noticed something else fell victim to my black wall crush, I blamed Jill (sorry Jill)! But let’s be honest, I probably would have done it anyway. Just like with spray painting, it’s a rare occasion when I get an idea to paint a wall (or piece of furniture) and I’m actually able to stop myself.

So the other day, while Gabe was napping (and I should have been doing laundry), I decided to pull apart my workspace and paint around it. I pinned this image a while ago and it kept creeping into my mind. It was my inspiration.

workspace inspiration

I mean, does that place just exude productivity or what?! I bet the person that works there gets a lot done.

I wanted my desk area to be painted similarly. I decided how much of the wall should be black, got my painters tape out and taped off the bottom portion of the wall. And in true gotta-get-this-done-no-time-to-measure form, I just eyeballed it to get a level line. I actually downloaded a level app on my iPhone, but when I couldn’t figure out how to use it in 5 seconds I deleted it. Patience is a virtue I might need to work on! Luckily, I’ve been honing my eyeballing skills for some years now, and I’m happy to report that the line is not slanted.


This is what I was working with. Looks messy, right? You should have seen it the day before. I had literally emptied the entire closet and every drawer in the room so I could get really organized. And then I took 8 boxes to Goodwill. Much like painting, when I get the urge to purge, there’s not much that can stop me. Well, a bum back can stop me. So I’m thankful for a husband who can lift those 8 boxes into the car. Kuddos to me for remembering to take a before picture.

I decided I wanted the black to come 3/4 up the clipboards that hang above the shelf. So I made a mark on the wall while everything was hanging up, then took it all down and used that marking as a guide for where to put the tape.


Extra kuddos for taking a process picture. You can also sort of see that I taped off the wall to the right of the window. I decided not to paint that wall, though.

It didn’t take long at all to paint this. When you’re painting with tape, remember to pull your brush away from the tape. You don’t want to push paint under the tape.

So once it was dry enough (more accurately, once I couldn’t wait any longer) I pulled the tape back. And was bummed to find this…


Womp womp wooooomp. So much for a crisp line. The whole thing wasn’t this bad, but none of it was crisp. I thought about taking leftover wall paint and trying to touch it up, but that would’ve taken forever, been really tedious, and still wouldn’t give a perfectly crisp line.

So I decided to use some cotton clotheslines I had laying around and hide it, while also adding a little embellishment and texture! I thought about hot-glueing it to the wall, but I wasn’t sure if that would be easy to remove. So I opted for tiny, silver, sewing pins instead. They leave such minuscule holes in the wall and aren’t noticeable at all.



This is the cotton clothesline I used. I’m pretty sure you can find it at Walmart. $3 for 100 yards or something crazy. Make sure you get the cotton kind, and not the nylon kind. It’s prettier.

I wrapped the end in some clear tape, then cut it on the tape. I thought this would keep it from unraveling. Then I just started tacking it to the wall, along the un-crisp tape line. I put a pin maybe every foot or so. Except at the corner. I put more around there to get the right angle.



You can’t really see the rope from far away, unless you know it’s there or you’re looking for it.



But once you get a little closer, it looks simply lovely! I love the added detail and texture.



Isn’t it a nice touch? I’m quite glad the line wasn’t crisp because I’m not sure I would have thought to do this otherwise. And I just realized that one of the pictures I have on the clipboards has a photo of a room with a similar paint job! I must like this look.

And there you go! An unexpected mistake added a lovely detail to my new partially black workspace! If you ever pull back tape and are bummed to find an un-crisp line… fear not! I love finding creative solutions and this one might be a favorite.

 March 14, 2013  Posted by at 15:15 diy, our home 5 Responses »
Mar 132013

I found these great urn like baskets at the thrift store some time ago, and as is the norm, I planned to spray paint them and use them for organization and storage. As is also the norm, they sat around, getting moved from room to room until I got around to them, which finally happened this week! I traded my gold spray paint for silver this time. I like metallics, because they act as a neutral while adding something fun to the space. I’m definitely not a shiny sparkly kinda girl, I do like my metallics.

I was inspired by Martha



Here’s a before (I’m patting myself on the back for remembering to take a before picture)!




There was nothing wrong with them before, but it’s a rare occasion when I get the urge to spray paint something and stop myself. I taped the handles to keep them the natural basket color. I took them outside and gave them a couple coats of silver metallic spray paint.

The large basket holds tracks to Gabriel’s electric train set (an amazingly kind and thoughtful gift from his Uncle August and Aunt Kelli). And the smaller basket holds my wrapping paper.


I can’t remember how much the baskets were, but I know it was cheap. As in, I took my baggie of change to the thrift store and got them. Super cheap! If you’re looking for some storage options but don’t want to spend money on new matching containers (which can get expensive, especially cute containers), collect a bunch of baskets and spray paint them the same color. Make yourself a nice little matching set! It’s unique and interesting with the different basket shapes. It’s also a cheap way to organize!

Have you spray painted anything recently? Anyone have a favorite, go to spray paint color?


 March 13, 2013  Posted by at 19:56 before and after, diy 2 Responses »
Mar 082013

Who enjoyed a late-in-the-season snow this week? We got FOURTEEN inches! The last big snow we had was the year Gabriel was born. 2009. So this was the first snow he’s gotten to enjoy. And boy did he enjoy it. We went sledding in the afternoon and then over to our friends house for a ‘snow party’. We played in the snow some more and then had a potluck dinner or sorts and, of course, hot chocolate. Snow parties. A new tradition!

Last week we switched our living room and dining room. I don’t know why we waited so long to do this. It works so much better this way! I’m slowly but surely putting the rooms back together. The built in bookcase is now in the living room. It’s one of my favorite features of this home. I love built-ins, but think they’re kind of intimidating to style. It can be hard to get a pulled together, cohesive look when you have so much space to fill! Since we don’t have enough books to fill up the whole thing, I pulled other random objects/baskets/crates from around the house to fill up the shelves. Through trial and error, I’m quite happy with how it turned out! And best part- I spent $0. Since I tend to approach projects like a hurricane (I barrel in and rip things apart in the process of getting it done) I didn’t take any before or process pictures. There’s just no time to pause and take a picture! It always takes a bit of time to recover from the hurricane and put things back together. We’re in that recovery stage right now! But I thought I’d share a little corner of our new living room. The oversized chair by the fire is my favorite. And if I’m really cold, I scoot the black chair really close to the fire and huddle over it, usually sipping something warm.


I love sitting in the big chair, because I can gaze right into my new black kitchen. It makes me smile. Who knew black could be such a happy color. Kitchen pictures to come soon.



So there’s peak at a corner of our living room. I have about 27 other projects going on right now. I’m excited to share some of them here! And maybe, if I can pause the hurricane, I’ll take some before and process pictures to share!

Hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

 March 8, 2013  Posted by at 14:01 our home 2 Responses »
Mar 042013

Dear Tristan,

You’re so tolerant of my decorating and redecorating and rearranging and painting and repainting and crafting and creating and selling things on Craig’s List to buy different things on Craig’s List and bringing home junk and making it less like junk. In our nearly 5 years of marriage you’ve gotten so used to our house changing on a sometimes daily basis. In fact, you’ve become so used to this that last night, when I started painting our kitchen black while I was making dinner, you didn’t even notice right away. And when you did notice your response was “Oh, Kate,” followed by laughter.

When you left this morning, you knew I was pondering painting that entire wall in the kitchen black. In fact, that was why I couldn’t sleep last night. Because I was thinking about painting walls black. You said you thought it’d be too much to paint the entire wall black. And I said I agreed. But then, after I made lunch for Gabriel, as I stood staring at the wall, I was overcome. I can’t quite explain it. But I got this urge and I just couldn’t resist it. While I usually just wait and see how long it takes you to notice these things, I thought it’d be best to give you a warning today. Our kitchen is black. And I love it. (Don’t worry, I didn’t neglect Gabriel while I painted. He protected me from dragons and ogres with the toilet bowl brush. The new, unused toilet bowl brush, of course. It makes a great sword.)

With much love,


P.S. Crap. You just texted me to say that you’re coming home for lunch. So, uh…. surprise!


And now to touch up the line at the ceiling and then put my new black kitchen back together again!

Check back really soon for better pictures.

 March 4, 2013  Posted by at 13:37 life, our home 3 Responses »
Mar 042013

Happy Monday! Is anyone else excited about the potential for snow this week? I’m ready for winter to go out with a bang. Let’s get one good snow for sledding and snowman making, and then bring on spring!

Last night while I was making dinner, I got this uncontrollable urge to paint part of the backsplash in black chalkboard paint. I tried, but I couldn’t resist. So while the rice was cooking on the stove, I satisfied the urge. Tristan walked in the kitchen and at first didn’t notice that half the wall over the stove was black. And then as he turned to walk away, he did a double take. And just laughed at me. These things don’t surprise him anymore.



Something about black walls in kitchens. I just love them!

 March 4, 2013  Posted by at 11:18 our home 2 Responses »
Feb 282013

Oh, I was doing so good with regular posts and then… well… not so good. Oops! I don’t have much time to write today. I’m in the middle of spring cleaning. On Tuesday evening I got the urge to switch the living room and the dining room. And then while everything was chaotic anyway, I decided to do early spring cleaning. Chaos doesn’t even begin to describe our home’s condition right now. And since I really should be trying to regain some order instead of writing, I’ll just leave you with a picture to make you feel better about your housekeeping. You’re welcome! Be back soon for more exciting things!



And sadly, those pictures don’t do justice to the chaos. See… your house really isn’t as messy as you thought it was. Perspective!

 February 28, 2013  Posted by at 15:33 life No Responses »
Feb 082013

Does anyone else wake up and get excited about having coffee, or is that just me? I love my morning cup o’ jo! I turned a corner of our kitchen counter into my little coffee station and it’s perfect. Everything I need to make my coffee, all together is one cute place. Here’s what you need to make your own coffee station!

coffee station collage


So how’s that for a first collage/mood board collection. It was pretty fun to make, even without Photoshop! Pixlr is awesome. And so is this tutorial. 

Let’s break it down…

Anthropologie has some pretty cute mugs, like this little owl one. Of course, I’m always a fan of collecting mugs at thrift stores!

An old jar is perfect for holding your ground coffee (or coffee beans).

The simple white sugar bowl is on sale at Crate and Barrel.

This tray can be found here.

That tray can be found here. (And yes, is a definite splurge. But so cool!)

The key to getting the right tray is one that’s easy to wipe up and has sides or edges. Have you ever not pushed the coffee pot in the whole way, so when the coffee brewed it just spilled out everywhere? I did that once. Wasted coffee! But I was so glad it was all contained in the tray. So the tray is functional and pretty.

Extra mugs are always good to have for company, like these from Ikea.

And Ikea’s Grundtal rail, hanging on the wall beside the coffee station, is perfect for holding your mugs. Don’t forget hooks.

And of course, you can’t forget your coffee maker, filters and a measuring spoon. You can even add a little cup of spoons at your coffee station, ready to mix in the cream and sugar.

It’s not ground breaking, but having all my coffee things in one spot, looking cute, it just kind of fun! I’m always a fan of scouting thrift stores to find what you need, so keep an eye out for jars, trays and mugs next time you’re thrifting!

 February 8, 2013  Posted by at 13:36 diy, inspiration 5 Responses »