I love being able to peruse real bound books! Browsing through blogs and online is fine, but there is no substitute for the printed word in a book.

Lucky for you, I’ve reviewed three new home, garden and design books that I think you’ll love!

The first is Decorating for Real Life by Wendy Hyde (blogger at The Shabby Nest)


Blogger Wendy Hyde began writing her blog, The Shabby Nest in 2008. She has taken her online world of decorating and design knowledge and has created a book full of magazine worthy homes. The photos may seem unachievable at first, but she breaks each room down to help you get the same look in your own home. She holds your hand and points out what makes the room work design-wise. This 208 page hardcover book is full with color photos of almost every room in a typical family home. At the end, Wendy printed several pages of grid paper and typical furniture items to help you design your own room layout.

PostBreakblueThe second book is Cultivating Garden Style by Rochelle Greayer


Rochelle takes us into a diverse world of beautiful and inspiring gardens. Her book is filled with ideas and tips to create landscaping that reflects your style, your home or your dreams. This hardcover book has over 300 pages filled with twenty three unique garden styles and step-by-step DIY projects to complete your outdoor space. Whether you like modern, Asian, Cottage or any other style, you’re sure to find inspiration in Cultivating Garden Style.


Last but certainly not least is DIY Wood Pallet Projects: 35 Rustic Modern Upcycling Ideas to Personalize Your Space by Karah Bunde (blogger at The Space Between Blog)


Karah takes her popular blog theme of upcycling and decorating using shipping pallets from the online world and into the pages of this book. She created 35 new projects using shipping pallets and gives you the step-by-step tutorial to complete each one. In the beginning of the book she discussed everything you need to know about the safety of wood pallets and how to harvest the wood from them. The rest is full of tutorials using pallet wood that will definitely be easy on your wallet.



How to Organize Home Manuals

How to Organize Home Manuals

Happy 2014! I hope you are still enjoying a wonderful holiday season and are excited to see what we have in store for you here at Pretty Handy Girl. It is going to be an amazing year! Since you might be recovering from the fun last night at a festive celebration, I’m going to make today’s project very easy for you. Easy but productive.

A new year always makes us want to be more organized and this project will start you off on the right foot in that department.  Today you are going to organize all those manuals you have floating around the house. You know the ones you can never find when you need to? But have been meaning to organize? Check that item off the To-Do list, here is how to!

There are a few options for getting home paperwork in order, but I’m a binder kind of girl. I tend to organize all of my must-find items in binders, that way I can move them around from room to room if I need to, and I can re-organize the items inside, plus binders can hide a great mess but look so pretty doing so.


  • All those pesky, unusually-sized, random manuals, warranties, instructions and information for things around your home
  • A binder {or two if you have a lot of manuals}
  • Dividers with a label option – Can be cut up file folders, purchased dividers or card stock paper
  • Clear plastic sheet protectors
  • Hole punch {optional}

Organize Your Home Manuals

Instructions: Read more

Tips for Choosing Paint Colors | Pretty Handy Girl

Tips for Choosing Paint Colors | Pretty Handy Girl

Choosing paint colors can be a daunting task. Looking at small paint chips at your local Lowe’s Home Improvement store can be a bit overwhelming. Especially because there are so many colors to choose from! (That can be a good thing too ;-).)

Luckily I have two tips to help you choose the paint color that’s right for you:

1. Use Valspar paint. Finding a paint color you love is easier with Valspar. If you don’t love the first color you choose, you can have another on them. It’s as easy as, love your color, or change your color. That’s the Valspar Love Your Color Guarantee. And it certainly helps alleviate the stress of choosing the right paint color for your room.

2. Create larger paint chips. Looking at tiny paint chips won’t help you conceptualize that color over the entire wall. Making large paint swatches using foam board and sample paints is easy and can save you time when choosing the ideal paint color. I put together this short video to show you how we selected the final color for the school library.

I knew if I could create big paint chips and let the librarian live with the large chips for a few days, she’d be better prepared to make a final decision. As you saw, she was much more comfortable choosing this way.

The winning color was Montpelier Wedgewood by Valspar. And, luckily after we began painting, we all fell in love with the color she chose.

Here’s how we tackled painting the school library (acoustic ceiling tiles and all!):

Before removing the ceiling tiles, we created a map of the tiles on a sheet of paper and numbered each square. Then we marked the number on the back of each tile as we took them down (team work really helped with this task.) Why the map and numbering? It made it easier when it came time to re-install them (especially if some were cut to fit.)

Tips for Choosing Paint Colors | Pretty Handy Girl

After removing the ceiling tiles, they were all wiped down with a wet rag. Then we used a medium nap roller to paint all the tiles. A paint brush was used to paint the sides as well. Then they were left to dry.

Meanwhile, I mixed a sample of white paint (mixed with some shimmering craft paint) to stencil the stars. I created a star stencil using my Silhouette cutter and a sheet of acetate, but you can also cut one by hand with an x-acto knife.

Luckily we had loads of volunteers to help stencil oodles of stars. Parents and children alike all chipped in to help.

Tips for Choosing Paint Colors | Pretty Handy Girl

By the end, I was seeing stars. LOL.

Tips for Choosing Paint Colors | Pretty Handy Girl

The ceiling tile grid had to be painted with a paint brush. This is where I was really glad that we bought the Valspar Paint & Primer in one paint. It definitely saved this project from being a literal pain in the neck.

Tips for Choosing Paint Colors | Pretty Handy Girl

The two tiles we couldn’t remove were painted and stenciled in place.

Tips for Choosing Paint Colors | Pretty Handy Girl

After the paint was completely dry, we returned them to their appropriate location. Thank goodness for the map!

Tips for Choosing Paint Colors | Pretty Handy Girl

I put a fun surprise on top of all the bookcases, but I wanted to hide the cords. It was as simple as purchasing some adhesive cord covers at Lowe’s and painting them the same color as the wall.

Tips for Choosing Paint Colors | Pretty Handy Girl

See, much less noticeable now!  Oooooo, sneak peek!

Tips for Choosing Paint Colors | Pretty Handy Girl

Next week I’ll show you how we added the final surprise elements to the library. In the meantime, is there a room you’ve been putting off painting? What do you think about choosing paint colors now that you know these tips. Ready to choose your color?


Disclosure: This is a sponsored post for Valspar Paint. I was compensated for my time writing this post. Valspar was also kind enough to donate the paint for the school library project. All ideas and words are my own. 

(I’ve included affiliate links for your convenience. I earn a small percentage from a purchase using these links. There is no additional cost to you. You can read more about affiliate links here.)

School Library Reveal | Pretty Handy Girl

School Library Reveal | Pretty Handy Girl

For a month I’ve been working on the school library makeover that was facilitated by a donation from Overstock.com. This morning I got my emotional reward. I walked into the library ready to put on the finishing touches in the room. There were a few kids in the main section of the library reading. But, when I turned the corner and gazed into what used to be the dark back corner…


…I was surprised to see a dozen kids sprawled on the rug, dog beds and bean bags.

School Library Reveal | Pretty Handy Girl

They were all piled back there and quietly reading! My heart almost burst. The librarian told me it’s been like that since we finished painting. The kids love to hang out there. And not just the younger grade levels, all the kids love it! My heart is just singing with joy. Read more

DIY Book with Storage Inside | Pretty Handy Girl

Book with Hidden Storage | Pretty Handy Girl

Do you remember when you were a kid and you wanted a super secret place to hide things from your sibling? Having a secret book with a hidden storage compartment would have been perfect! Even as an adult, it’s nice to have a spot where you can hide something personal, valuable or sweet (think dark chocolate!) 😉

This DIY Decorative Hidden Storage Book is a relatively easy project, but it takes a little patience and a very sharp X-acto knife (so have a few fresh blades to replace when your blade dulls.)





  • Fat book (shop Goodwill or repurpose an old book you already own)
  • X-acto knife
  • 4-5 New X-acto blades
  • Ruler with a metal edge
  • Self-healing cutting board
  • Paint brush
  • Mod Podge
  • Gold craft paint (optional)
  • 3 Sheets of scrapbook paper (2 the same design and 1 coordinating design)
  • Scotch tape
  • Rubber cement
  • Wax paper (cereal box bags work great)
  • Cup to mix mod podge in
  • Weights or heavy objects
  • Ribbon


Instructions: Read more