...because home doesn't happen overnight.

UPDATE: Apparently, I was operating on no coffee / no sleep / no brain cells at the time this post was written. So sorry for all the confusion! I have edited the post to clarify the main points and terminology. I hope it makes a little more sense. Thanks for all your feedback!

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A few years ago, I shared my bunk bed making secrets. Two and a half years later, I want to edit that post…starting with the removal of the cheesy lead shot. (Ugh.) But no, for real.

For the most part, the tips I shared are still in full force over here. I still use a step stool and sheet clips. (They’re like suspenders for your sheets.) I still keep pillows to a minimum. I’m still nixing the flat sheets. (They’re pointless with kids.) But there is one little thing that has been making my life even easier when it comes to making the boys’ bunk beds.

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They’re linen duvet covers in European sizes. Let me repeat. Linen duvet covers. European sizing. They will change your life. No more ironing. (Who am I kidding? I have never ironed bedding.) No more baggy, ill-fitting duvet covers. No more balled up, bunched up comforters inside said duvet covers. No more comforter clips.

European-sized duvet covers are smaller (narrower & shorter) so they actually fit the comforters. There’s less shifting of the comforters inside so I’ve been able to lose the comforter clips. (I still use sheet clips on the fitted sheet on the top bunk.) Also, the smaller sizing means less fabric to tuck around the mattress. Less tucking = less linen wrestling = less sweating = happy mama.

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I went with white European singles from this etsy shop and opted for the zipper closure for the boys’ twin mattresses. (If you are thinking of purchasing a European duvet cover, double check that it says EUR sizing. Not every listing in this etsy shop has EUR sizing available at this time which is why I didn’t link to a specific item.) For me, I prefer the zipper closure over any fold over, button or tie closure. It’s convenient and there’s no comforter slipping out over time.

I made the switch over a year ago. At the time, it seemed like such a splurge but now it feels like money well spent, an investment in my sanity. Bed making is quicker and the wrinkly linen is super kid-friendly. I’m hoping the white will stand the test of time. I can always pair it with something more colorful when boredom strikes.

When the BHG crew was here last month, the stylist brought in different bedding for the bunks. She was huffing and puffing, sweating and cursing by the time it was all said and done. We agreed that making bunk beds is the worst.

Thank goodness for those linen duvet covers that always look great with little effort. I’m tempted to make the switch in my bedroom, too.

images: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking

DIY trash enclosure text

The warmer weather has us turning our attention outside. While our home’s interior is mostly done (I use that term loosely…nothing is ever done here), there are a few things we’d like to tackle outdoors. We were hoping to install a few shade sails in the backyard but that project has been put on hold while we wait for the verdict on Everett’s medical bills. Until then, we’re trying to knock out a few smaller scale (i.e., less expensive) projects while the weather is cooperating.

We had been brainstorming a trash / recycling bin enclosure for over a year, and we finally tackled it a few weeks ago. Our trash can and recycling bin sit on the driveway against the house just past the overhead garage door. We wanted something simple in appearance with horizontal slats, without gates or lids. After pricing out materials for a DIY version made with composite decking, we decided to go with plain ol’ cedar for less than half the cost. Here’s what we did:

DIY trash enclosure steps

1 – Up until a few weeks ago, the bins sat with their backs against the house. We turned them 90º with the backs facing the backyard. This allowed us to design a simple L-shaped enclosure off the side of the house. We measured the bins in their new orientation, added a few inches for maneuverability, then installed two fence post brackets in the driveway with concrete anchors. We added a treated 2 x 4 to the brick facade with Tapcons. This provided a surface to tie the slats in to.

2 – We wanted the enclosure high enough to hide the bins but lower than a nearby windowsill. (No one wants a trash enclosure staring at them through the window.) We measured accordingly then screwed a treated 4 x 4 fence post into the first bracket. Scrap pieces of lumber stood in as temporary supports to keep the fence post from jostling around. For a narrower slat, we ripped 1 x 6 kiln-dried cedar boards (from Menards) in half. Working from top to bottom (to ensure full top and bottom slats) and using stainless steel deck screws, we installed the first cedar slat and checked it with a level. Subsequent boards were added with ~1/4″ spacing. Each board was cut to size and mitered on the outside corner. To avoid rot, we kept the slats a few inches off the driveway.

3 – Once the shorter side was finished, we moved on to the longer side using the same materials and methods.

4 – The slats are up!

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We added a treated 2 x 4 vertically to shore things up on the longer side but didn’t take it all the way to the driveway.

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Finally, we capped the enclosure with two (non-ripped) 1 x 6 kiln-dried cedar boards for a finished look. We decided to hold off on sealing the cedar for now and see how it holds up since it’s mostly under an eave and is usually blocked from rain / snow by our parked minivan. (Yep, we held out as long as we could but the minivan was inevitable. I love it and I hate that I love it.)

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Bins be gone! The fragrant cedar is a welcome distraction when taking out the trash.

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This little area looks so much tidier from the road now. (Btw, I lost the DirectTV battle. HOWEVER, we’re canceling our service once our contract is up later this year so that dish is going buh-bye. Netflix ftw.)

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The bins are easily pulled out on collection day.

DIY trash enclosure 1

It’s pretty basic and no-frills but we’re really happy with how the enclosure turned out. I’m a sucker for the narrow slats and natural wood. And tidy is always a winner in my book. We’re going to use a similar design to create a hanging screen / planter to conceal the electric meter on the back of the house. I’m on a mission to HIDE ALL THE UGLY THINGS WITH CEDAR SLATS!

How do you conceal your waste bins? Electric meter? What outdoor projects are you working on this year? Last year I painted the peeling garage door as a stopgap measure and we had the elderly asphalt driveway replaced with concrete. Even if we aren’t able to do the shade sails this year, we’d still like to put in a few raised beds, install a clothesline and start a compost.

images: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking

*THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED.*

Congrats to Audrey who is very busy not only with her own young family, work and garden but with her parents’ bathroom remodel! Sounds fun!!

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I am longtime fan of Jack + Ella Paper. Before we became virtual friends, I was Jessica’s customer. (I mailed out the new digs postcards when we moved.) A little while later when I was contemplating paint colors for my bedroom, Jessica sent me pictures of her cozy bedroom and office and even allowed me to share them here on the blog. So when she emailed me about the newest additions to her stationery shop, I had to share them too.

jack and ella giveaway 1

The I’ve got it together notepad set is ideal for serial list-makers. (That would be me.) Printed on 100% recycled paper, the weekly menu, weekly to-do list and daily to-do list help you manage everyday life. I plan on using them to create an organized, interactive side panel next to the fridge. I’m also keeping the card stash on hand for last minute note writing. (You know how I feel about store bought cards.) The cards have the cutest fonts and prints on the front, and they’re blank inside for personal, handwritten messages. As always, they’re printed on 100% recycled paper and kraft card stock.

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Do you live your life in lists? Jessica is offering up her eco-chic paper goods to one lucky House*Tweaking reader! See entry details below.

PRIZE: one I’ve got it together notepad set and one card stash box from Jack + Ella Paper ($56 retail value)

RULES: You must be at least 18 years old and have a shipping address (no P.O. boxes please). This giveaway is open to international readers! One entry per email address.

TO ENTER: Leave a comment on this post proclaiming “LIST ME!”

DEADLINE: Enter before 9:00 p.m. EST on Wednesday, May 27th. One random winner will be chosen and announced Thursday, May 28th.

WHILE YOU’RE AT IT: What’s on your to-do list today? I’ll go first: tennis, blog post, check in on progress at the studio, get my mom a birthday gift, oil change, finish up some laundry, scout out some marble remnants for a client…among other things. I’m hoping to squeeze in some outdoor time with my family, too. It’s beautiful here today!

Good luck!

images: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking