Renovation report : before and after

Hello Frugal Folks!

Today I’ll be reporting about our living room renovation.

Supplies: one big living room covered in wallpaper from the nineties, one couple with a serious “Let’s Do-It-Ourselves” game plan, two water spray bottles, lot’s of paint, painter’s tape, protection for the floor and voilà! (oh I forgot: insert ONE weekend).

So essentially, we took off the old wall paper, filled holes in the wall with putty, rewired a few electrical outlets and painted the walls in a bright and fresh white “colour” by applying three coats of paints.

Total cost: around 200€ for the paint and that was it. 

Please enjoy this before-and-after picture session! I’ll be explaining below the pictures just how we proceeded.


Fireplace before


Fireplace after

Renovation repainting the walls

Dining room area before

Renovating living room

Dining room area after

Renovation living room before picture (2)

Wall adjoining the fireplace before

Renovation living room



Dining room area


We love our plants



So here are all my tips and tricks for a succesful renovation:

  • Water spray bottles: wooow did those make a difference! Basically, we sprayed water onto the wall and allowed the water to impregnate the paper. After that, we were able to strip off the wallpaper super quickly!
  • Be patient: calculate half a day or an entire day per task so you don’t get frustrated. For example: we both took our Friday off, and on that day, we stripped all of the wallpaper. On Saturday, we had planned to fill the holes in the wall with putty, and we started painting late in the evening. On Sunday, we added the other two coats in the morning and in the evening. And we were succesful!
  • Protect your floor. I love our wooden floor and so we made sure to cover it with a special plastic foil. Even so, we still had a few paint spatters which I removed with a cotton stick and white spirit.
  • Always follow these steps: 1. Prepare your room; 2. Remove the wall paper; 3. Fill any holes with putty, let it dry and then sand your wall; 4. Vacuum the room to avoid dust; 5. Start painting!

How about you? Do you plan on renovating a room anytime soon?

Happydiysite (4)


DIY Planter: my upcycle project!

DIY Planter upcycle

Honey, I broke our ovendish…

Sad, but true… Our ovendish split right down the middle while handling meatloaf in the oven. Being a frugal person, I hated the idea of throwing out this ovendish that we received for Christmas and I tried to come up with an upcycle idea.

So I DIY-ed myself a planter! (By the way, I once upcycled one of our bowls with beautiful pieces of vintage porcelain).

DIY Planter with cactus pattern (3)


These are the tools I used to upcycle my old and broken oven dish into a new planter:

  • Broken ceramic ovendish
  • A porcelain marker (green)
  • The Japanese gold repair kit, also know as the Kintsugi repair Kit
  • Small pieces of wood to act as ‘furniture legs’. Actually, these came from a craft store and are supposed to be used as namecard holders

Step 1: I drew on a pattern of cacti with the porcelain marker. Tip: draw a pattern of your liking on a piece of paper beforehand. This way, you can think about your pattern on paper and not screw up the piece you are decorating. However, if you’ve already started on the porcelain and you don’t like the way the pattern looks, you can wash it away with a sponge, but you have to be quick 🙂

DIY Planter upcycle

Another tip: while drawing the pattern, I pushed the two pieces against each other to make sure the pattern is continuous once glued together.

Step 2: I baked the ovendish in the oven for 30 minutes at 160°C.

Step 3: Once the oven dish had cooled off, I glued the two pieces back together with my Kintsugi repair kit.

Kintsugi repair Kit

What’s inside the repair kit?

Kintsugi repair Kit Content

  • Epoxy fastglue
  • Epoxy putty
  • Gold powder
  • Soft small paint brush
  • Gloves
  • Sticks

You’ll start by squeezing an equal amount of glue out of each tube and adding a hint of gold powder. The glue and powder are mixed well and applied on one side of the crack. After two minutes of resting, the two parts are pressed together for a few minutes. And finally, when the glue is almost dry but still sticky, apply a generous layer of gold dust with the brush.

Kintsugi repair Kit (2)

Step 4: At last, I glued on the wooden legs with the same tube of glue. And voilà! A DIY planter.

DIY Planter with cactus pattern (2)

DIY Planter with cactus pattern (6)

Curious about the cactus candle? Here’s another tutorial for you! 🙂

How about you? Any broken household items you’re bummed about?

Why I won’t be blogging this week

Last weekend, we spend all of our time… renovating our living room! Meaning: stripping away the old and worn wallpaper and painting the entire thing (as in = three coats of paint).

As you can imagine, I had no spare time left to write a decent blog post. But no worries: I love blogging, I love DIY-ing, I’ll be back on Happy DIY with some new ideas when I’ve recuperated a little bit from last weekend!

I promise I’ll write a lengthy before-and-after post of our living room renovation, including price tag of the paint and some luscious interior pictures!

Have a great week!

Here are some teasers:

Renovation repainting the walls

One bare wall before painting. Yes, that is a banana on the table, I’m pretending we ate super healthy during our renovation.

Painting the walls

One gloriously sunny sunday morning

Fireplace makeover

One finished fireplace.



Our trip to Venice: the financial rundown

Today, I’d like to report about our recent city trip to Venice. I’m very happy to tell you that a four-day city trip, including the flying tickets, three nights at a hotel, all of our transportation, and the food came in at only 365€ per person.

I’ll show you how we managed to keep this wonderful trip low-budget in this blog post.

As I mentioned before, one of my personal life goals is to travel and to discover the world. Travelling is my ultimate guilty pleasure. But travelling isn’t cheap – and it can turn out really expensive if you’re not paying attention to what you’re spending.


Canal Grande in Venice

In an effort to align my spending with my life goals, I make conscious decisions about spending less in my daily life, in exchange for being able to travel. However, this doesn’t mean that I start throwing cash around once I’m on the trip.

Our romantic vacation in Venice is the perfect example: we kept track of everything we were spending during the trip to avoid bad surprises.

Little back ground here: we celebrated our four-year anniversary in February this year, and we decided to go on a little adventurous getaway to Venice. It was absolutely perfect and really, really romantic! 🙂


Lovely sunset over Venice



Chief Frugal  at your service.

How we managed to keep it a low-budget trip

  1. Right from the start, we chose a destination that was within financial reason when it came to airplane tickets and hotels. I believe the hotels and flights were on the cheap side because it wasn’t the height of the touristic season yet. If that isn’t enough of a bonus, Venice is much nicer to visit during winter, when there aren’t a zillion of tourists walking around.
  2. We flew with Ryanair, a low-budget flying company.
  3. We used an app to track all of our spending during the trip. It made us very conscious about everything we were spending during our getaway.

Grand total: 722.26€, which comes down to 365€ per person. The trip in itself was four days: from Thursday to Sunday.


This amount includes (per person): return flight, hotel, all of the transportation, food (including two restaurant meals), visits to a palazzo and churches, a day pass of the water bus.

  • Food: 211,42€ (including two restaurant meals)
  • Hotel: 227€ (three nights for two people)
  • Flights: 150€ (return tickets for two people)
  • Transportation: 104€ (bus to airport in Belgium, bus to airport in Italy, Vaporetto)
  • Various: 26€ (including visits of churches and a palazzo)

View from San Gorgio

Venice travel picture - Happy DIY site

Frugal fails and epic wins

Okay, now, we did plan ahead to make everything as reasonable as possible. However, we encountered some frugal fails. Please take something away from it! 🙂

  • We sat down in a café in front of the Doges Palace, on the waterfront. It is one of the most touristic sites of Venice. We paid a staggering 18€ for ONE COFFEE and ONE TART. I was in total consternation. Lesson learned: never again will I go into the most touristic café in the city before checking the prices. FRUGAL FAIL!
  • In the grand total of 722€ are included two restaurant meals. We did plan on one restaurant visit before leaving; we even checked prices and reviews on Tripadvisor and booked according to our budget. However, we did not foresee the second restaurant visit. This restaurant meal mainly occurred because it was our first night in Venice, and we had no idea where to find a store. So, lesson learned: next time I’ll go on a trip, I will try to locate grocery stores beforehand, to cut back on the food bill. FRUGAL FAIL!
  • Before leaving on our trip, I went through our pantry and fridge to check if anything would expire in our absence. I made sandwiches and snack boxes with whatever we had left. For example, I turned 6 eggs into an eggsalad and made sandwiches with it. We ate the sandwiches on our way to Venice and it saved us money since we didn’t have to buy food at the airport. EPIC WIN!


  • We managed to have lunch for 8€ (see picture below). We visited a café selling crostini’s at 1.20€ a piece. Two crostini’s and a drink per person cost us a total of 8€; and in combination with my snack boxes, we weren’t hungry.

Crostini’s and coffee in Venice

  • And finally, when we managed to locate a grocery store, we bought our dinner and had a picnic in bed. Came in at 12.70€. Cheap dinner! 🙂

In summary, travelling on a budget is entirely possible and it really doesn’t take that much more of an effort. We compared prices, and went during the low season. We tried to save money on food by bringing our own sandwiches and by buying dinner in a grocery store. We used an app to track all of our expenses during the trip.

How about you? Do you like to travel? Do you manage to stay within budget?


Free Give Away : earrings with freshwater pearls

Hello to all of my lovely readers!

I’m very excited to announce that I’ve been working on a new jewelry collection for the past few months and that today, I’m having a launch day!

To celebrate, I’m hosting a free give-away on the Facebook page, you’re more than welcome to join in!


Simply go over to the Facebook page and follow the instructions 🙂

If you’d like a sneak peek of the collection, click over to my Etsy-shop!

Have a great day!