Door to Adore

When I was a kid, someone asked me if I could have a super power what would it be, and I remember very clearly my answer. It wasn’t to fly, or to move things with my mind or anything cool like that. I wished that I could have the power to make things new again. Maybe you think that is a deep and reflective answer? It wasn’t. I literally just wanted to be able to touch old rusty, dented, scratched, ugly things and make them shiny and perfect again. Oh, this old bent stop sign by my house? Poof! New again!

Who would choose that lame super power over FLYING? What kind of weird kid even cares about stuff like that?  This kind!

Makeovers are the next best thing. Turning something unattractive into a better, more beautiful version of itself? That’s a super power to me.

Like what Better After reader Christina did with her bi-fold closet doors.  Previously, they were … not that cute. Very few bi-fold closet doors are. I’ve yet to meet any.


bi-fold closet door makeover before


bi-fold closet door makeover

Until now!  Yes, these are the very same doors, just trimmed with quarter-inch pine plywood strips and painted. If you have ugly closet doors in your life, you can do it too! The only super power you need is patience, because Christina reports that this job takes approximately forever.

It required lots of hole filling, sanding, priming, painting, and repeating, plus a top-coat of Varathane to harden the finish. But the end result really is worth it.

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Patriotic Projects

This weekend America celebrates her freedom, including life, liberty, and the pursuit of fabulousness. What better way to mark the occasion than with some patriotic projects? Today we shall set free a few everyday items from a lifetime of mediocrity and send them onward and upward in a blaze of (old) glory.

First,  a box of dirty golf balls. Do you see where this is going?

Painted Flag Golf Balls Before


Painted Flag Golf Balls

Of course you didn’t! Unless you did. Did you take a look at those golf balls and instantly imagine them painted in stars and stripes, layered in a cute wire basket? If so, pat yourself on the back for me. If not, head over to Laurie’s blog My Husband Has Too Many Hobbies to see more.


I hold this truth to be self-evident that this crib spring was headed for the dump. But Julie had a better idea. First she counted the spaces between the rows of wire. Thirteen in all.  Sounds perfect for …

american flag crib spring before


american flag crib spring copy

… the thirteen stripes of the American flag, which she made for next to nothing using ribbon. I guess I need to go find an old crib spring somewhere, somehow, because this looks rad and I want one.

See it on her blog Redhead Can Decorate.


And lastly, we know that all men are created equal, but I’m not sure if all women are, because when I saw this project that my friend Kristen Duke dreamed up, I wanted to punch myself in the face for not thinking of it first. It’s so simple, but SO COOL!

Before, an eight-foot wide melamine board, plus 180 wood screws. It doesn’t look like much yet … but once you add in that secret American ingredient (carbs), you get:

amercian flag donut wall in progress


american flag donut wall

An American flag doughnut wall! Have you ever seen anything better? Seriously, somebody call the president. Tell him to retire. Kristin has GOT THIS.

More to see on her blog Capturing Joy.

Please please have a safe and happy 4th of July!

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Why I buy fabric online, and other fabric-y thoughts.

Yesterday, when I shared this glamorous bedroom makeover by Randi, it reminded me that I had asked her once about the fabric she used on the chair in the room and the pillow on the bed. As you can see, it’s a cheetah print with a very specific, authentic look. Because not all cheetah print fabrics are created equal. Some are really cheesy and fake, but this one looks like the real deal. You aren’t going to find this print just anywhere. Except I did! I found it on Amazon!

I was excited about that little discovery, so I thought I’d share, along with a few other fabric selections that I’ve rounded up from the blogosphere. I don’t know about you, but it’s always so much easier to make a decision on fabric when you can see it how it looks ‘in use’ vs. a teeny sample square on a screen.

However, if you’ve never considered buying fabric online, don’t be scared! There are some great advantages to doing it this way. For one, the selection is unmatched. There is no way your local fabric store can possibly stock a fraction of the variety you can find online.

Another advantage is that the prices you’ll find are much lower. Since online retailers don’t have the overhead of a maintaining a regular storefront, they pass significant savings on to you.

Plus, I’ve found that most online fabric companies have great return policies. Regular craft and fabric stores on the other hand? Not so much. Once they’ve cut it for you, there’s no going back, cupcake.

Randi’s fabric is called Jamil, and you can see where she used it in the photo above. It’s dreeeeamy.


Here’s a graphic print that I love from the HGTV fabric line, called Jigsaw Malachite.

Check out how Becky at Infarrantly Creative used it in her son’s ridiculously awesome bedroom makeover.

infarrantly creative fabric


We all know that black and white striped anything is a winner in my book.  Ikea has a couple of striped fabrics that I’ve used several times, and they’re great quality at a great price. I believe they still cost $7.99 a yard, but bummer alert: you can’t order their fabric online.


But luckily there are plenty of online options if a trip to Ikea isn’t in your near future. I like this vertical stripe by It’s 100% cotton, and the stripes are nice and chunky at nearly 3 inches wide.

This next one illustrates why it’s so helpful to see a ‘real life’ example of the fabric you’re considering.  Here’s how this Tommy Bahama fabric shows up in the sample image:

And here’s that same fabric on a reupholstered chair.


Whoa, big difference right?? But again, don’t let that scare you off. Just google the name of the fabric you’re interested in, and you’re very likely to find photos of projects other people have done, which will help you get a more realistic idea of what it looks like.


This fabric is called Srilanka Indigo, and it’s gorgeous.

And here it is as a ‘no sew’ curtain panel from Artsy Chicks Rule.
ikat fabric diy curtains

Much easier to get a sense of the scale of the pattern when you’re looking at something other than a 2×2″ square, knowwhatImean?


I really, really love the fabric that Sita Montgomery used on her curtains as well. Neutral and elegant but still playful and graphic. It’s a winner.

duralee loop de loop fabric

It’s called Loop De Loop Smoke, from Duralee.


Chris at Driven by Decor is another gal who has a great knack for choosing fabric. Basically anything she buys, sign me up too. I love what she did with this Nate Berkus fabric, called San Lucia.

fabric over a chair

She simply draped it over the back of a chair and added tassels to dress it up. That’s it! What an easy way to make a statement.

san lucia fabric by nate berkus





This next fabric has been around for a while, but I see it popping up all over the internetz all the time, so people clearly still dig it.

dwellstudio fabricsource

What’s not to love? It’s called Bella Porte, and it comes in charcoal and yellow, and I know I’ve used it myself on some pillows in my lifetime, but I’ll be darned if I can find the pictures to prove it.



Love this one from Carosel called Navy and Gray Geometric. (What they lack in creative fabric names, they make up for in design, haha!)

rocking chair cover source

Ahhh, am I the only one who could look at fabric all day? I could seriously go on, but I’ll stop.

Right after I show you some more of my favorite fabrics. Then I’ll stop.

favorite fabric choices

Arrows || Flamingos || Gold Dot and Stripe

Aztec || Cacti Field || Aztec Stripe

Pineapples || Heni Bay Green || Swiss Cross


Hey, wouldn’t it be fun if we each sent a favorite piece of fabric from our stash (because we all have a stash) to someone else and they had to make something with it? We should do that sometime.


***post contains some affiliate links

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Super Cute Food

I’m sorry. I’m not sharing a typical post like you’re used to seeing on Better After today. I’m sharing something else that has absolutely nothing to do with DIY or before and afters. And I have no real reason to share it, but I simply cannot help myself. I just can’t hold it in any longer:


eggs step 18



Whew. I’m glad I got that off my chest.  Yes, those are hard-boiled eggs shaped like a bunny and a teddy bear, and they are so outrageously cute I can hardly stand it.

So here’s the deal. I was minding my own business just browsing around on Amazon one night, and these egg molds popped up under ‘items you may be interested in.’ Amazon apparently knows me so well it knows part of me that I didn’t even know existed: the part that hyperventilates with excitement at the sight of animal-shaped food. I really did have a physical reaction.

They were only $3 for the pair, and I bought them without delay. And now I make adorable eggs all the time, and the kids love them so much, just kidding, the kids have never even seen them because I only make adorable eggs for myself because I CAN’T EVEN STAND IT, just kidding again, I really do make these for my kids, and they love them too, because WHO WOULDN’T???

eggs step 19

The process is super easy. Hard boil your eggs. Remove the shell while the eggs are still hot. (Be careful!)


eggs step 9

Squeeze the egg into the egg mold and snap it shut.


eggs step 13

Submerge in ice water for 10 minutes.



eggs step 16

Remove the egg and pass out from cuteness.

bunny bear egg mold


You can find the bunny and bear pair of egg molds here, and the larger set of six egg molds below. <–affiliate links

egg moldsCute food is nothing new, the Japanese have perfected the art with their creative and colorful bento boxes for years, easily putting a typical American “sandwich in a paper bag” lunch to shame. But now that the tools are so easily accessible, why, there’s no reason we can’t have outrageously cute food too! There is a treasure trove of adorable animal-shaped food possibilities that I have only just begun to mine.


I think this panda sandwich maker is most likely my next purchase.

bear sandwich mold

Or this panda sandwich maker.

panda sandwiches

I can’t decide!!!


Or this panda rice mold:

panda rice mold 2


Or THIS panda rice mold.

panda rice mold

Or THIS PENGUIN rice mold! I’m so slack-jawed from the cuteness here, I’m literally drooling all over my keyboard.  I’m surprised it hasn’t malfunc

penguin rice mold

No but seriously, maybe these things seems a little pointless to some people, but they make me so aggressively happy. Why not spread a little unexpected joy wherever we can, right?

penguin rice molds



Thanks for letting me veer off-topic for the day, I hope you thought it was as fun as I did!

Happy Weekend!




*this post contains affiliate links

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