Simple outdoor dropcloth pillows

I love to change out the throw pillows in a space because it’s one of the easiest – and thriftiest – ways for me to freshen up my décor for the season. I’ve been sewing my own throw pillows for years and have gotten it down to about a half-hour science (per pillow). I even started adding zippers to my pillows so I can remove the covers and throw them in the washing machine. (I have small children. Need I say more?)


Recently, I combined two of my favorite thrifty things – paint and a painter’s dropcloth – to create stenciled, outdoor throw pillows for my Adirondack furniture. You can view my full, step-by-step tutorial in the Paint+Pattern Design Magazine here.


If you have any reservations about sewing your own dropcloth pillows, I can reassure you that you can do it! I am not a precise seamstress and I’ve been able to produce these consistently with minimal difficulty. Why not give it a shot this summer?

Special thanks to Royal Design Studio for sponsoring this stencil project. 

Video: How to prepare an old deck for new stain, a magic mildew wash recipe and a giveaway from HomeRight


The time has come for us to restain our wraparound porch. It’s another project we’ll be tackling on our own, since we’re living rich on less around here. 😉 Considering the size of our porch, I’m foreseeing this will be no small project. So I’m breaking it down into bite-sized pieces and spreading the work out over a few weeks.

Our porch wood is still in pretty good shape, with only a few small areas of chipping stain and spots of mildew. That means the preparation work has been fairly minimal. In fact, the best piece of advice I can offer regarding an exterior restaining or repainting project is to tackle it before the finish is so deteriorated that you have to spend days scraping and sanding the surface.

After researching the best way to prepare an old deck for new stain, I came up with three key steps, which I’ve detailed below. Or check out the following video to see exactly how I prepared our porch for new stain.

Step 1: Pressure wash the area to remove dirt and chipping paint or stain.

Pressure washing quickly removes dirt, loose paint and built-up grime, improving paint adhesion as a result. Use caution when spraying around windows. Also, avoid directing water up under the siding laps, and keep the nozzle at least 12-16 inches from the wood, so it doesn’t splinter it.

Step 2: Scrape and sand off any leftover chipped paint or stain.

Flaking paint must be removed or the new paint on top of it will eventually let go, too. Make sure the surface is dry first. Then with a sharp scraper, follow the grain of the wood with long strokes. Be sure to pound down any nails sticking up and follow that up with a good sanding.

Step 3: Kill any mildew.

A pressure washer and water alone will not kill mildew. Since mildew can bleed through and ruin a new coat of paint or stain, it needs to be dealt with. I used the homemade mildew wash recipe below coupled with the HomeRight® Deck Washer Flow-Through Broom to tackle our porch mildew quickly and easily.

Homemade mildew wash

Homemade Magic Mildew Wash

  • 1 gallon water
  • 1 quart laundry bleach
  • 1 pint rubbing alcohol
  • 2 Tablespoons Murphy’s Oil Soap (or other non-ammonia detergent)

After mixing this concoction up, I used the deck washer flow-through broom* to brush it on. (Remember to mix this solution outside or in a very well-ventilated room). Then I attached a garden hose to the broom and turned it on. The broom’s stiff bristles loosened and pushed the debris, while the water jets blasted the area clean.

After these three steps, be sure to let the surface dry really well. Then you are ready to apply that beautiful new coat of paint or stain! I’ll be changing the color of our porch floor and using solid color stain. So stay tuned for that project coming soon.

In the meantime, enter below to win your own HomeRight® Deck Washer Flow-Through Broom! It has a 13” bristle broom with water jet nozzles and a durable three-piece aluminum extension handle with foam grips. It’s a two-in-one deck washer that can also be used to scrub clean: patios, driveways, garage floors, pool areas and any outdoor space that needs deep-cleaned. Or if you can’t wait for the giveaway, you can purchase a broom here.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Special thanks to HomeRight for sponsoring this post and giveaway. I’m thrilled to be a brand ambassador for Homeright and, as always, all thoughts, opinions and projects are my own.

* Links to products in this post are affiliate links. Purchasing though these links will not cost you anything additional, but a small portion will come back to Living Rich on Less, helping me continue to provide great, free content. Thanks in advance for your support.

DIY board and batten plus $5,000 Earn Your Stripes Room Makeover Contest

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of FrogTape®. All opinions are 100% mine.

Since we moved into our home a few years ago, I’ve wanted to jazz up the second floor hallway. But a gazillion other DIY projects kept me from taking action. Then our toddler son recently decided to use the hallway as his personal canvas. He created his “art” using a permanent black marker! So the hallway project moved up to No. 1 on the DIY schedule.


After much Pinterest searching, I decided to do a board and batten wall treatment in the space, with a narrow shelf at the top where I could display family photos.

I started by priming the walls white where the marker damage was done. I didn’t want the black marker bleeding through my finished wall color.


Then it was time to begin the board and batten project.

Step 1: Decide where the first horizontal board will be placed. I wanted my top board to be flush with the top of the light switches. So I measured down from the ceiling and placed tick marks all along the wall at that spot. I used FrogTape® brand painter’s tape, placed around the entire hallway, to mark that starting line.


Step 2: Paint the walls to the ceiling above the line of FrogTape. I chose the color Anew Gray and had it mixed up in the lesser expensive Valspar Signature® paint (eggshell finish).


I removed the FrogTape and had a perfect line ready for my first board to be added below it. FrogTape will remove cleanly from most surfaces for up to 21 days (or seven days in direct sunlight).


FrogTape not only cleanly comes off of surfaces, but also prevents paint bleed thanks to its patented PaintBlock® Technology.


Step 3: Add the first horizontal board to the wall. I chose medium-density fiberboard to create my boards and battens. To save money, I purchased three, 8-foot sheets of MDF and had them cut down in the home improvement store. From each 8-foot sheet, I had cut one 7-inch-wide piece; the rest of each sheet was cut into 3.5-inch-wide pieces.


For the top horizontal board, I used the 7-inch-wide pieces, placing them directly under my FrogTape line, and using a level to make sure the pieces stayed straight. I applied a bit of panel adhesive to the back of each board and used brad nails to stick them to the wall.

Step 4: Eight inches below the top board, add a 3.5-inch board.

Step 5: Add baseboard. I used 3.5-inch pieces of MDF to serve as my baseboard. (Be sure to paint these boards prior to sticking them to the wall.) For the paint color, I chose to match the shade of our window and door trim.


Step 6: Add battens. I cut 8-inch battens from my 3.5-inch pieces of MDF and applied them about 11 inches apart on the wall in between the two horizontal boards.

I then applied my bottom battens parallel to the top ones. Mine are 32.5-inches long.

Step 7: Add the top shelf and molding. I chose a 1×3 birch board for my top shelf and inexpensive door/window casing for the molding underneath it.

Step 8: Sand, caulk and paint everything. MDF can be tricky to work with. It requires a few coats of paint for a smooth finish, so be prepared to put in some hours of work here. But the finished result is worth it!


Helpful tip: Use FrogTape to help create a perfect caulk line between your shelf and the wall. This trick helps cut down on cleanup time and gives a professional-looking finish.

Here’s my new hallway that I built for under $150.





Are you ready to get started on your next DIY paint project? Be sure to enter the Earn Your Stripes Room Makeover Contest, sponsored by FrogTape. To enter, you must re-do a room with the help of FrogTape and submit your photos. You can check out all official contest details by clicking the link above. The winner will receive a $5,000 prize!

Also, to get more FrogTape® painting inspiration and product information, visit FrogTape on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest

Visit Sponsors Site