Fix It Up Summer Project Mini Series – Part One

by | Jun 27, 2017


Getting Started + The game Plan!


Who is ready to take on a small project with big impact this summer?  I'll be tackling three areas of my own home and this is number one!  I hope you'll join me and have some fun while sprucing up your space!

The rules are simple...well, my rules, you can make your own of course ;)!

  1. Pick an area outdoors or that touches the outdoors...because you spend a lot of time outdoors in the summer and/or letting in the summer light.
  2. Each project gets a modest $50 budget!
  3. Clearly, be creative haha!


Join the fun!


Before we start, I wanted to let you know about this really fun free printable 30 day home décor challenge I made for you all to join in with your own summer fix it up project!

Become a Rustic Eye VIP and grab the printable below by entering your name + email and clicking the button!

Ok, let's get started ;)...


Everything But The Kitchen Sink!


My first fixer upper area in this mini-series, is my kitchen bay window/sink area!

before photo kitchen sink bay window area

Here's a before- not much going on...and I really think it was an under utilized space, am I right?  Well, time to change that!!

My three must haves for the space:

  1. A hanging light fixture where the recessed light is
  2. A DIY herb garden
  3. Cute soap dispenser


Let's break this down and get to work (aka: fun):




I already bought the light fixture even though I didn't know where I was going to use it when I bought it, so I'm cheating and not using that as part of my budget.  I also already had the vintage style lightbulb that I bought for another fixture which it proved too long for.

Use your resources, friends!! 😉

hangling light fixture with vintage style lightbulb

Now, I was told by my pretty handy & very lovable Father-In-Law that this particular light fixture could not go over the sink to replace the recessed him, but I was determined lol!

The cord is too long, he said, you'd have to attach a hook to the ceiling to hang the cord {insert 70's flashbacks dancing through my mind}.  No way, I said to myself, that's icky...and I figured out how to adjust the cord to make it shorter (that part wasn't hard at all).

You won't be able to hang it from where the recessed can light's too small for the opening, he said.  To the internet, I chanted to myself...there must be a solution...and guess what, there was :).  Here's what I found- thanks HGTV!

I live in an area that doesn't exactly have easy access to everything I might need.  Prior to moving here, I literally could travel five minutes or less for absolutely any need I might have.  Amazon Prime to the rescue, 'cause I don't want to spend my time and resources driving everywhere, duh!

In that handy dandy tutorial from HGTV I mentioned earlier, I discovered I needed a recessed light converter and a ceiling medallion.  Bam, this kit from Amazon included both and the price was right!  And, HELLO, I received everything by noon the next day with free shipping (love Amazon Prime- you can try Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial're welcome :))!  Even if you do live close to things, you seriously can't beat the convenience...just saying!

step by step for painting ceiling medallion


When I received the converter kit, I painted the ceilling medallion that came with it (with my go-to spray paint- one coat and done)!  So glad I did that, it ended up going perfectly with the light can't even tell it's two separate pieces.

(Go ahead, I'll wait while you scroll up to check LOL).

Are you wondering how the light install went?  Not too shabby for two people (that's me and my hubs) that have no special skills in this arena...but we CAN follow directions and follow directions we did.  And, we even managed to not get electrocuted...BONUS!!

Conclusion, it took about 30 minutes from start to finish and while not "super easy"...I give it  a "totally doable" rating!  P.S. it was mostly him doing the work, if I'm being fair ;).

Just in case you want to know where you can grab that cute light, check it out here!




DIY herb garden in bay window

Full disclaimer, I can not keep anything green alive to save my life...where are my fellow plant killers (facepalm :))?  But, if I have the plants by the sink where I go every day and if I have a cute and practical watering can nearby...maybe...just maybe!

Those were all the thoughts I needed to convince myself! HAHA

Plus, I love using fresh herbs and I've been wanting to make these cute planters ever since I saw similar ones, somewhere out there in internet land (I'd give credit if I remembered where)!

I had four 4.3" clay pots and mason jars on hand...a perfect start to hold my herbs!

I needed to figure out which herbs to plant in my garden.  Cilantro was a no-brainer (it's my fav) and I knew I wanted basil.

Next it was back to Amazon to search for herb garden kits!  Since I made the pots, I really just needed seeds and soil.  From the small amount of research I did, I decided I should make sure to get good seeds (too obvious)? 🙂

I decide on a Sustainable Herb Collection seed kit which included Basil, Chives, Cilantro, Dill, Lavender, Oregano, Parsley, Rosemary, Sage and Thyme!  Um, lavender- yes please!!

I used this Sponge Ease soil which comes compressed and expands to 10 quarts of soil!  Wow, is all I can say.  It actually worked!

All you do is follow the directions by adding 3 quarts of water, one quart at a time then's like magic!  It even comes with it's own bag to hold it all.  Friends, let me tell you- I had enough soil to do the entire herb garden with some left over!


On to the guts of the project...


Here are the steps to make the white clay pots:


DIY herb garden painted and hand stamped pots


  1. Using white chalk paint (you can get this at any craft store or online...a little goes a long way), completely paint the inside and outside of small standard red/orange clay pots that you can find at most craft and garden stores or online.
  2. Use a large paint brush and don't worry about it being perfect.
  3. With alphabet stamps and black ink, stamp the herb names on the sides of the pots.  I used a set of vintage stamps I could use any alphabet stamp set.
  4. Spray the stamped areas with clear acrylic spray so the ink doesn't run (optional, but recommended).
  5. I noticed a couple of the herbs (lavender and oregano) said they needed good drainage- so I made sure those were in the pots (my only containers that could drain)!
  6. Optional tip: place a coffee filter in the inside/bottom of each pot to line so the soil doesn't leak out.  You may not need these If you are using pot coasters.  Is that what they are called lol?


The mason jars were really easy:


diy mason jar herb garden


  1. Using the same stamps for a cohesive look, stamp the herb names onto some white tags (you could easily cut out some tags if you don't have any).  Some of the herb names were too long for the tags, so I just went with it and hyphenated them!
  2. Clip each tag with a clothespin and set the other end on the edge of the mason jar.  I was stoked to find the clothespins rested easily and securely on the edge of the mason jar.  I wasn't entirely sure how I was going to do that- love when something just works :)!


For the wood box (you could use any container you have sitting around), I picked the two herbs I wanted the most of- cilantro and that order (did I mention I LOVE cilantro ;))?  Using the same stamps and ink, I stamped right onto the side of the box!  I also lined the box with plastic wrap to protect it a bit and to keep the soil from seeping out the openings on the sides!


planting the herb garden supplies


Finally, just fill your containers with the soil.  I added some miracle grow my daughter had from her garden project for good measure!  Follow the directions on each seed packet for planting.

Don't forget to water regularly!


A few tips I learned:

  1. Parsley needs to be prepped by plopping the seeds in the refrigerator for three days, then soaking them overnight in room temperature water.  Who knew :)?  I just ended up planting those a few days later!
  2. Use washi tape to seal the seeds back up that you don't use for later- maybe take two when they don't grow (no, be positive Traci- haha).
  3. Basil is one of the easiest herbs to grow- so if you want to start with one and you are a beginner- try that!!  P.S. my basil sprouted first after only 3 days- check it out below (woot woot)!! 🙂
  4. You have to replant Cilantro every 3-4 weeks...sigh, oh well 🙂 .  The pack did come with plenty of seeds, so not to worry!  Calendar a reminder so you don't forget!

Last but not least, that watering can...SUPER important!  I initially wanted a small galvanized watering can...and in trying to stick to my budget I had a thought that a vintage creamer would work which I had in my shop!  Then it donned on me that the cow creamers I already had in that space would be perfect for watering.  I'm such a genius sometimes ;)!  We will see if my theory actually works haha.


cow creamer watering cans


3. Soap Dispenser


mason jar soap dispenser and mrs. meyer's lavender dish soap


I ended up going with this mason jar style soap dispenser with some divine Mrs. Meyer's dish soap to put inside.  Bye-bye dish soap clutter and hello beauty and efficiency!

I was first introduced to Mrs. Meyer's products by accident and just love them for a couple reasons:

  • Scents (I started with lemon verbana- yumm!)
  • They are *mostly* natural
  • The concentrates last a long time- so it feels like a great value! (I likey)!

I decided to try the lavender to go along with my herb garden theme.  I'll let you know how I like it 😉 !  This wasn't part of my décor budget since it's something I need anyway (I'm so sneaky 🙂 ).

Guys, so far I love the soap dispenser.  I invested in a better made dispenser since this is something that gets used every day and I wanted it to be functional on top of looking awesome!

Tip: make sure you follow the directions to spray the inside of the lid with Pam and wipe clean- sounds strange, but it's supposed to help keep it functional!


Project List


I came in within a couple dollars of my budget after taxes...gotta allow a little wiggle room ;).


The Finishing Touches


I finished off the space by bringing in a galvanized tray I had in another room (on to search for a new tray for that room), a couple of vintage blue mason jars (because who doesn't love blue mason jars),  some cute striped towels for texture and warmth, and a few dried flowers stashed here and there.

Finally, I rearranged some of the items I had in the space already...remember those cow creamers turned watering pots?  By the way, they are working just great so far!

Here are some "after" shots...what do you think? 🙂

after photos of diy herb garden kitchen makeover

I can't wait to see how it looks when everything grows- cause it's totally gonna!  Just check out those teeny tiny basil sprouts.  I count two LOL!  You have to look VERY's like find Waldo...find the sprouts! 🙂

basil sprouts

I'd love to hear from you!  Comment below to let me know what fix it up project you are working on or something specific YOU need help with or would like to see a tutorial on!

Have a great day, friends!

-Traci XO

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PS- In case you missed the free printable 30 Day Home Décor Challenge- make sure to grab it here by entering your name + email and clicking the button 🙂




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