student for the day – playing with power tools

Playing with power tools - Directions Not Included

As you can tell my sporadic posting this year, even though I promised myself (and you guys!)  I would be back to blogging at least semi-regularly, things have been a bit up in the air. Work has been crazy due to many, many changes in the last 8 months. While I have a blast at work, it is also very stressful and draining at times. I decided I needed to start scheduling some mental health days. We have a decent vacation policy, so I added a few to the calendar to regroup and have some fun. Since the hubby is off on summer break (lucky man!) and has access to all the studios in the arts department at his college, I scheduled a day for playing with power tools. We have the basics at home, and I’m quite comfortable with them, but now was the chance to learn with the big boys.

Here is a glimpse inside of the studio. It is twice this size, but this shorty had a real hard time getting a full picture of the space.

Playing with power tools - Directions Not Included

These are a few of the power tools I got to play with while in the studio last week.

Clockwise – A radial arm saw, table saw, belt sander, and bandsaw.

Playing with power tools - Directions Not Included

This is a blogger/DIYer’s dream come true. I squealed when I realized this was all scrap wood that could be used for various projects. Being married to an art professor has some amazing perks! Part of me wants to go back to school just to take woodworking classes.I grabbed a few pieces from this for some upcoming projects, stick around to see what comes out of them.

Playing with power tools - Directions Not Included

This is the radial arm saw. Think of it as a chop saw on steroids. It does the chop saw motion, but also moves back and forth, which allows you to cut up to a 12″ board. I used it to chop down a few different pieces for upcoming projects.  I will admit that saws with blades this big give me the shakes. I’m terrified of chopping off my hand even though I use all the safety precautions. After a few cuts, I was quite comfortable on it.

Playing with power tools - Directions Not Included

The bandsaw is such a great tool. I found some MDF boards in the scrap pile, that I traced out for some upcoming Halloween projects. This tool cuts MDF and wood like butter. It is so easy to make simple and even intricate shapes with this. I definitely wish we had one of these at home.

Playing with power tools - Directions Not Included




Oh the belt sander. How I LOVE the belt sander!  I  am not a fan of sanding. I have a great orbital sander at home, but this…this, is epic. I have a few projects in the works with small pieces of wood, odd shaped pieces and large boards. All of those only took minutes to clean up. Amazingly smooth and so easy to use.

Playing with power tools - Directions Not Included

I had a blast playing with power tools and getting started on a handful of projects on my day off. I only used about 60% of the tools in the studio so I’m definitely planning on taking up the hubby and his fellow professors up on the offer to spend more time learning the rest of the equipment.

If you could have any of these power tools in your home (or others not mentioned), which one would you get? I’m torn between the belt sander and the bandsaw. I love them both so much. Can’t wait to show you what is going to come from the items I started in these photos!



corporate office decorating – commercial time!

Corporate Office Design in a Commercial - Directions Not Included

This is probably one of the coolest, most random things, that has ever happened to me. A few weeks ago, a location scout paid a visit to our office. Instead of being instantly turned away, our HR Manager who sits near the entrance called me over. The guy explained they were in the area looking for spaces for upcoming commercials. They wanted something modern, bright and open. All they needed was our space and we would get a check for our time. She figured I would be very interested since I handled our corporate office decorating, which of course I was. I eagerly escorted him around the office, never expecting to be in the running. Our office space is nice, and I’ve made some great strides in it, but is it not professionally done. It is a DIY interior design by Directions Not Included! I

Crazy enough, a week later I got the call that we were the location they wanted. A whirlwind of a week later, everything was set and the commercial was ready to be filmed. What a production! There were over 50 people in terms of production crew, caterers, the clients, the art team, and the talent, inside and outside the building. Trucks, cars, large food truck, you name it, it was here.

Here are a few shots from the day. All iPhone pics because I was I was so sleepy  I forgot my camera. I was in the office bright and early at 7:30 am on a Saturday to supervise. Mama Hen at her finest, making sure these strangers didn’t ruin our space so the sleepiness was justified.

Clock wise – Recording equipment set up in our lounge, the clients hanging out in our kitchen, equipment, and more equipment set up for one of the scenes.

Corporate Office Design in a Commercial - Directions Not Included

Clockwise – The view I had from my office while they were filming directly in front of it, more equipment and people, the screens set up for an interview portion of the commercial and even more equipment.

Corporate Office Design in a Commercial - Directions Not Included

This was one of my favorite things to watch. While the cameras were filming in the office, our lunchroom was used by the producers and clients to watch it all unfold. Seeing the HD footage of the office space I’ve been decorating for over a year was so cool. Do you see the story board on the left? All the details were just amazing to see unfold.

Corporate Office Design in a Commercial - Directions Not Included

Here is a pic of “the talent” as they were called on set.  Pete is one of our very own and the only one from my team who signed up to be an extra. He was so psyched to be in a commercial. Techy by day, actor on the side. I see a budding career for our dear friend ;) All kidding aside, these people were all on set from 7:30am until 9:30pm. That is one hell of a long day to be “on”.  The production crew resorted to raiding our Nerf guns and Cards Against Humanity set to keep themselves entertained.

Corporate Office Design in a Commercial - Directions Not Included

All in all, it was an amazing experience. They loved our space, it was cool to watch, and I was honestly very proud afterwards. We had another scout come out during the shoot and inquire about the office being used regularly for Spanish telenovela. As tempting as it is, not sure if it would fly, but I sure was flattered.





potty mouth – inappropriate office gifts


So if you follow me on Instagram you know I have a slightly…okay, REALLY…unorthodox office. We have Nerf gun wars and beer tastings, on a regular basis. You should follow me if you don’t. I post all sorts of randomness that can make you smile like my mutts, DIY stuff and more!

We work hard and play hard, and are all kinds of inappropriate in between. This post of inappropriate office gifts is not for the faint of heart, so if you are easily offended, look away now.  I’m serious. I have a potty mouth and don’t want to offend anyone.

Okay, you have been warned. I made mugs for three of my favorites at work. We have potty mouths, have been working crazy hours the past few months, and have to have some laughs in between. I will only post one photo of these to be safe.


If you have made it this far you are looking at mugs that say:

1 – “Mo**** F*****” – For our accounting clerk

2 – “There is a chance this may contain vodka” – For our HR manager

3 – “Why do I curse so much? Because f*** y**” – For our controller

Yes, these are REALLY  pretty inappropriate office gifts, but they were very loved. I know this doesn’t fly in most offices, but it works in mine. which is why I love it so.


changes – directions not included before and afters

Family Room - Directions Not Included

I was messing around with my blog design and realized I have been really bad at updating the pages on this site. Guess I’ll take some time this weekend for some blog clean up! I’m working on a new house tour page, but in the meantime, I thought it would good to give a quick run through of the latest before and afters since this is a DIY blog after all. For all you new followers who have yet to see our “beautiful” before shots, this might come at a surprise – this house was pretty damn ugly. And it was smelly, dusty and termite-filled as well.

The kitchen.

Kitchen Before and After - Directions Not Included

Dining room and bar.

Dining Room Before and After - Directions Not Included

Family room.

Family Room Before and After - Directions Not Included

The bar. View from the family room.

Bar Side View Before and After - Directions Not Included

My craft room.

Craft Room Before and After - Directions Not Included

The guest bedroom.

Guest Room Before and After - Directions Not Included

The pirate bathroom.

Pirate Bathroom Before and After - Directions Not Included

I know I’ve lived with this mess for quite some time, but I do think we’ve made some great progress in these before and afters. I can’t wait until we crank out the next phase of renovations throughout this year and next. I can almost see the light at the end of the tunnel!

So what is your favorite transformation so far?


pet crafts – easy diy cat toys

DIY Cat Toy - Directions Not Included

Lemur is a mischievous cat, always getting into stuff. She keeps us on our toes so I’m always looking for things to keep her out of trouble. This is about as simple as it gets in tutorials. You know you all want easy DIY cat toys that are also extremely successful for entertaining  your naughty cats.

I bought a few dowels and a feather-like boa at the craft store. This cost me all of $3 or so with coupons.

DIY Cat Toy - Directions Not Included

Thanks to the Haven Conference and Scotch Brand, I ended up with some stylish Expressions tape. (Not sponsored, just love my free swag from the conference).  I used it to wrap up the dowel for a bit of color and fun.

DIY Cat Toy - Directions Not Included

Wrap that tape up the whole dowel and double it up at the end to attach the boa.

DIY Cat Toy - Directions Not Included

Once you have secured the boa with the tape, proceed to torture entertain your cat with hours of fluffy, feathery fun.

DIY Cat Toy - Directions Not Included

It is safe to say she is happy with her new toy. I wish I would have managed a photo of her dragging the entire thing away with her. DIY Cat Toy - Directions Not Included

I will share that the mutts are not interested in this toy at all. This means Lemur and Annie finally get a toy to call their own. Since I bought a few dowels and have a variety of tape to use, I’m going to make a few more to keep around the house.



getting somewhere – family room update


The never-ending room remodel. That is exactly how I feel about our family room update. Yes, I know we are STILL not in our master bedroom after three years but the master isn’t used. We use this space all.the.time. I love this room. It is one of the reasons we fell in love with this house, but I want it DONE! We are not done, but we are definitely getting somewhere. Here is the space today with some of our most recent updates including the new windows (hurricane impact ones! woohoo!), the Henry sofas from West Elm and our new (vintage) TV stand. And please don’t forget those painstakingly refinished exposed beam ceilings. I am so glad those are done and we never have to touch them again.

Family_Room_July_5 Family_Room_July

This one has a decent shot of my Broyhill Brassilia score, my adorable dog Dylan and the curtains that lead to the still-under-construction master bedroom. I cannot wait until that wall is sealed off and I don’t have to explain to curious guests that the ghetto shower curtain rod and cheap curtains are not part of my design plans for this room. And PS – Dylan just turned 14, doesn’t he look great for the old man that he is?!


Here is a view from the TV area to our kitchen and the rest of the house. The paint in this rooms needs to be updated now that we have these sofas, but I am waiting until we get the floors installed to pick the right color. Next up in this room is sealing up the crazy “stained glass” window behind the fabric covered canvas.


In this shot, you can also see the recessed space we are still finishing to put a large-scale piece of art in. Family_Room_July_4

Oh and the floors. I cannot wait until we get new floors. I love the old style Cuban tile. They are solid concrete tiles, but if you are new around here or have somehow managed to forget the attrocity of our built-in litterbox, there is no way we can keep match the. Family_Room_July_7.jpg

Some Dylan butt and a glimpse towards our bar from the family room. Family_Room_July_6

Kinda crazy to think we came from this.

FamilyRoom1Exposed Beam Ceiling Before

To this…


We still have a bit to go on some big-ticket items. Once those are in and I can finally style this space, I will be thrilled.

Do you have any room in your house you desperately want done, but doesn’t seem to ever get here?