Thursday, September 30, 2010

A Bit of Cottage Charm: Painted Stairs

The previous owner redid the kitchen but it was obviously on the cheap. I plan to make some changes to the kitchen by the end of the year in order to spruce it up a bit, but for now it's all about the small changes. One of the things I've come to despise about the kitchen is the vast amount of similar color wood in the kitchen, from the wood cabinets to the teak wood floors. I actually don't mind the floors for the most part but the floor and cabinet combo is a little more than I can handle. I do plan to paint the cabinets... but we don't have the moolah to replace the floors. I don't know about you, but I like to hold on to my money! And like I said, I don't mind the floor for the most part. The one spot that I don't care for the floors is the step down into the dining room. It's a narrow space and it just felt a little too dark. My Mom actually made an off hand comment that I should paint the stairs. Before you knew it (and before my husband had come home from school), I had already been to the hardware store and back. I slapped on two coats of floor paint and presto change-0, I now have a brighter hallway.

I also picked up three mailbox numbers because I knew the white stairs would look a little too plain.

(Excuse the cameo appearance of our fluffy puppy. He follows me everywhere!)

They have gotten scratched up a bit, but I don't really mind it. Eventually, I'm sure I'll touch them up and seal them, but for now I like the "lived in" look that the scratches provide.

This was one of those projects that I really wasn't sure about. I was a bit nervous because once the paint is down, there's no going back. Now that they are done, I actually really like them. I think they have a little cottage charm!

P.S. Linking to the following parties:
Southern In My Heart

The DIY Show Off

The House in the Roses

Monday, September 27, 2010

Making a Mobile

I had a pretty busy summer between traveling to Tennessee to visit Brandon's family; planning and coordinating a few weddings including one in Lake George, NY and planning a couple baby showers for friends of mine (see the favors that I made for Lis' shower in honor of Baby Trey here); but somehow I managed to squeeze in a little time to whip up a handmade mobile for Baby Eliza.
Here it is hanging in the room.

(Above photo courtesy of GrantDeb Photography)

Baby Eliza joined the world almost seven weeks ago. I think it coordinates perfectly with the other mobile that they picked up at Babies R' Us... and I didn't even know that they had purchased this.

(Photo courtesy of Grant and Deb Photography)
(And while we are at it, I must mention that Grand and Deb are fabulous photographers if you are looking for one!)

How I Made it:
I used the inner hoop of a crochet circle. I used the inner one so I didn't have to worry about disguising the metal latch.

First, I spray painted the hoop white.

Then, I used this flower punch.
I layered and glued together both green and pink flowers so each flower had more than one dimension.
Then, I threaded the flowers (I actually alternated a flower and a white polka-dot) onto fishing wire using a sewing needle and attached each strand of four flowers and three polka-dots to the white hoop.

After hanging all twelve strands, I attached some pink ribbon to the top and it was done.

Note: It is important to note that you have to balance the strands. Make sure that the strands that hang directly across from one another mimic one another.

I think this would be a great project to try with starfish for a beach themed nursery or a little boys room.
Good luck!

P.S. Linking back to this party:
The Girl Creative
Me and My Bucket
All Thingz Related  

Sunday, September 26, 2010

I Found My Chairs!

As you know, I've been searching for the perfect chairs to pair with my fabulous $15 Craig's List table that I fixed up and chipped up (See the details of the table redo here.)

As I posted yesterday, here's what I wanted...

And here's what I found at a yard sale this morning!

They are pretty close, huh? Aren't they PERFECT?!

I just got back from Home Depot with paint in hand, so over the next week, I'll be working on painting and chipping up my new chairs.

I bought them from a family that will be moving to Washington D.C. soon. He has 4 more chairs (two with arms and two without arms) that he's selling for $25 per chair. Here's his Craig's List add, just in case anyone is interested:

I'll be back soon with the finished chairs!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Dining Room Chairs: What I want

So I've been on the hunt for the perfect dining room chairs but I've come up empty handed. I know what I want but I can't find it for the right price.

I know I want a woven rush seat with a wooden back (the higher the better) but gosh darn it, a set of four new chairs are $400 plus bucks! I've checked out some thrift stores, antique stores, googled it and checked on Craig's List... but NADA.

Anyone have any leads? Here are examples of what I'm looking for (and I don't care about the color because, I can paint them.)

(Image courtesy of Ballard Designs)

(Image courtesy of Pottery Barn)
The back is a little short for my taste but I like the shape on this one better than the Ballard Design one.

Any suggestions??

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Back In the Black

I've been a bad blogger lately. I got pretty sick last week/weekend coupled with a very busy work week, so my little ol' blog got neglected. But I'm back! And if you haven't figured this out by now, paint is my best friend... so I'm back and I'm up to my elbows in black paint once again.

Years ago, when I first moved out of my parents house at age 19, I bought my first home... well, town home. The downstairs was lacking some storage space in the dining room but I didn't have a lot of money to spend on a fancy hutch so I picked up something on the cheap.

(Try to ignore the white trash can on top of the cabinet! Those were the days that our sweet puppy got into EVERYTHING!)

It was actually a portion of an entertainment unit. Apparently, the other two pieces were damaged so I think I paid 30 bucks for it.

Well, years later, I'm using the 'el chepo' cabinet to store all of our towels and linens since our 1950's cape is lacking in the linen closet area.

As I was painting all of my doors black, I made a split decision to slap on black paint to the linen closet stand-in. I figured I couldn't make the fake wood look any worse, right?

So, here she is mid-paint job. You can see the wood grain on the bottom half and the fresh coat of paint on the top.

And here she is all done.

A nice, free makeover (since I already had the paint leftover from the doors and I reused the hardware that was originally on the cabinet.)

Don't you just love a free makeover?

P.S.: I'm linking back to this paint party:
Power of Paint Party

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

It Takes The Cake

You've probably noticed quite a few posts regarding babies and showers. I've had three very close friends give birth within a month of one another so I've been a busy party planning bee. Well, here's another great idea to make a great party even prettier.

It's a three tiered "cake"(non-edible of course!) made from diapers. It makes a great centerpiece during the shower and it doubles as a wonderful gift for the mom-to-be once the shower is over.

And here's a snapshot of a cake that I helped a friend make:

People pay upwards of $70 dollars for these "babies" (pun intended) but I refused to pay someone else that kind of money when I knew I could figure out how to make it on my own.

The first time I made one, it took me hours, but now that I've had a lot of practice, I can whip up one of these in about 1/2 hour. And now, I make them for others when they ask.

The next time I make one, I'll be sure to snap a shot of each step so I can give you guys a tutorial.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Paint, Puppies and Doors... Oh My!

For the last few months, I've been working on painting all of our doors black. Awhile back, I read a house crashing post on Young House Love. The house they chose to crash had gone black with all of their doors (read their post here). As I read their post, I noticed that the walls surrounding their black doors were a very similar color to the "Cream Fleece" that I decided to paint most of our home. When I told my husband and a few of friends-and well everyone about my decision to paint all of our doors black, to say they were all skeptical would be an understatement.

But I forged ahead with my plan and began painting. We had only had our puppy for a few months when I started a rather large painting project. I didn't realize how hard it would be to paint with a rambunctious 4 month old puppy. What was I thinking?

Check this picture out:

I had to paint the walls and doors just above his height... and he's no small puppy!

Then I talked my Mom into dog sitting for a day so I could finish up the bottom half.

Here are the finished doors.

I think it adds one more dimension to the room... and it looks clean and crisp a lot longer than the standard white doors.

I guess black doors may becoming all the rage. I just stumbled across a recent post from "Just Beachy" regarding the very same thing: black doors (see her post here). It looks likes "Just Beachy" and I have been busy on similar projects that last couple of months. What an easy fix to bring the look of a home up a notch or two!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Trash to Treasure: Our Kitchen Table

So the saying is true... Someone's trash can really be your treasure. For months, I had been hunting for a wooden pedestal table to replace our glass table in the kitchen. I liked the glass table fine enough but it just wasn't fitting in with our new cottage decor (plus, I have big plans for our kitchen as the end of the year nears and I knew the glass table wouldn't fit in with my new design.)

(This picture is about 6 months old. Since then, I've added an area rug and recovered the seat cushions)

When I began my search for a pedestal table, I told myself that I was going to be patient in finding the perfect table for the perfect price. I knew that I didn't want to jump on the first table that I saw because those suckers can be expensive. I also knew that a used one would be just fine because I would be painting and distressing it no matter what.

Well, patience paid off (patience is a virtue, after all). After about three months of checking out thrift stores and Craig's list, I came across this table for $15 bucks!

Score! And better yet, it was already painted black. I had planned to paint a black base coat on whatever table I found. So let's review: A table for $15 bucks- SCORE! A table already painted black- DOUBLE SCORE! And a table with a chunky pedestal base (I'm a sucker for chunky furniture!)- TRIPLE SCORE!

I knew that I wanted to give the table a weathered look... so I got to work cleaning and painting.

First, I cleaned the table. Apparently it has spent a month outside and the previous owners were getting ready to throw it out if nobody claimed it on Craig’s List (it really was going to be trash!)

Next, I covered the table with three layers of white paint.

I'm not exactly sure what the name of the color is because I used what I already had. It was actually floor paint, since that’s what I had in the attic. I really didn’t want to spend the money if I didn’t have to.

Then, I let the paint dry just enough to where it wasn't wet to touch-- but not enough that it had hardened. I used a paint scraper to rough up the paint around the edged, bends, and the tabletop. At this point, I was loving the new look… but I wasn’t done yet.

After I finished beating up my table, I let the paint dry overnight. When morning came, I rubbed on brown furniture stain in places to add to the weathered look. (Note: the stain goes on dark, so I just had an old rag on hand to rub of any excess.)

Here my new table!

I love it! I still need to add a coat of polyurethane so it's sealed.

Now I need to go on the hunt for four chairs. Once I find the chairs, I'll be back with pictures of it living in its new home in my kitchen (right now, I have a drop cloth and the table in my living room until I sell my glass table.)

As long as you love the shape, you can really do this to any piece of furniture. It doesn't matter how ugly the finish is when you find it.

The best part of of this entire table makeover is that the total cost was $15 bucks since I already had the paint and brushes on hand! Isn't that amazing! Aren't those the best types of projects?People pay hundreds of dollars at Pottery Barn for this type of look. In fact, there is a mantel for sale at Pottery Barn that has a similar finish... and its price tag is a whopping $349! Ouch!

Now, I'm off to look for some chairs!

Happy refinishing!

P.S. As of this past weekend, I found fabulous chairs to pair with the table. You can read the details here. I'm working on painting them this week.

P.S.S. I'm linking up to the DIY Party over at these blogs:
The DIY Show Off
Power of Paint Party

Me and My Bucket

French Country Cottage

Saturday, September 11, 2010

DIY Edible Arrangement

I absolutely love the thought of an edible arrangement in lieu of flowers.
They are gorgeous...
Fun to look at...
and fun to eat.

But they are just so darn expensive. I had a baby shower coming up so I thought that would be the perfect time for me to try my hand at one of these edible works of art . I gathered my supplies (fruit, melting chocolate, skewers, floral foam, and a flower shaped cookie cutter) and away we went. Notice I said "we". My husband joined in on the edible art fun and loved it.

Here' she is...

I used a tin that I already had at the house.

I am proud of our first attempt at an edible fruit project.

A couple of notes: I bought way too much fruit! It could have been much cheaper if I would have scaled back a bit. We were eating the leftover fruit at the Boyd house for days. Also, it does take time and patience... but it's pretty easy to do. As far as the floral foam is concerned, I used it at the base to secure the skewers but I wanted to make sure none of the foam debris flew up onto the fruit, so I covered the foam in saran wrap before putting it into the container. Then, once it was nestled nicely into the the tin, I covered the saran wrapped foam with cilantro. The cilantro made a nice filler.

Tip: work from the bottom outside and fill it in as you work your way up and towards the center.

Happy fruit arranging!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Strolling Along

On one of my antique shopping excursions with Ashley of "It Rocks to Be a Knox" I came across an old and adorable wicker baby doll stroller. In fact, I had the very same stroller as a little girl. I spent many hours pushing my red-headed cabbage patch kid around in that stroller. And even though I don't have kids, I just knew that I couldn't leave the store without the stroller in tow. At the time, I had three close friends that were all pregnant so I knew I could put the the stroller to good use as baby shower decor.

Check out how I used the stroller at a couple of the baby showers:

(Above: I picked up some flowers from Sam's and made a centerpiece arrangement for the food table)

(Above: At this shower, the baby doll carriage housed the favors)

And just in case you were wondering what's in the box...

It's a cinnamon bun. I whipped up some tags on the computer that said
"_(name)_ has a bun in the oven...
Thanks for showering her with love."

I just LOVE this baby carriage and the many adorable party planning possibilities! This is just proof that if you look beyond the intended use of almost anything, you can achieve great things. Let your creativity guide you!
I'll have the full details of the shower that I held at my home in a later post.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Living Room Reveal

As I have mentioned before, when we first moved into our house, I bought super big furniture. We also got the entire house painted in colors that seemed like a good idea at the time, but as time passed, the bright color coupled with "I'm-to-big-for-this-space" furniture made it feel like the walls were closing in on us.

As you can see in the picture below, our over-stuffed chair really didn't even fit in the room; in fact, it spilled into the alcove that leads to our front door. Anytime a pizza delivery person or anyone else that wouldn't know that we don't use that door, would come to house, we'd basically have to climb over the chair and ottoman.

And, would you take a look at those ugly curtains! These were left from the previous owners and I just never took the time get rid of them. The curtains were hung too low so it made the ceiling look very low-- and the color was just as bad.

You can see that the fireplace was in need of some TLC so I decided to brighten it up with a little bit of paint (read about the fireplace makeover here.)

Everything was just too dark...

So after Kevin and Layla Palmer of "The Lettered Cottage" paid our home a visit to redo our master bedroom, I just knew the rest of the house would be getting a makeover very soon. I posted our living room furniture on Craig's List and within a couple of hours I had an empty space.

Here are some pics of our new space:

We painted the room in the same color that Layla choose for our bedroom: Benjamin Moore's Cream Fleece.
Our new sofa came from Haverty's.
The side tables and coffee table are made from old luggage (more about that here.)
And the shutters came from a small local antique shop (read more about the shutters here.)
Even though we needed to scale down the size of everything in our living room, we really didn't want to sacrifice comfort. When we got rid of our overstuffed chair and ottoman, I wanted to make sure I provided us with a sufficient substitute. I bought two white slipcovered Ektorp chairs from Ikea... and if you peek behind the white chairs into the alcove, you'll notice a blue and white square. Those are actually two storage ottomans that I ordered from Target online. These ottomans' are great because they have many uses. When we want to lounge around on a rainy day, they are light enough to grab it and toss it in front of one of the chairs; when I'm entertaining, they make great extra seating; and when they are hanging out in the alcove they make a great bench as we put on our shoes... and let's not forget the awesome storage it provides!

The tan curtains are drop clothes (you know the ones that you use to cover your floors when you're painting! That's a little trick I learned from Layla!) and the blue curtains are twin sheets from Walmart. Who needs to pay a bunch of money for curtains?

The New England landscapes that hang above our sofa are photos that we snapped on a recent trip to my hometown of Gloucester, MA. We had them made into canvas prints through Canvas on Demand. There services can be a little pricey but we scored a great deal through Groupon. Now each time that I glance as these pictures it brings me back to the crisp New England fall days that I experienced as a child.

And the sconces on either side were once an ugly animal print. I just spray painted the glass and then rubbed some brown shoe polish in spots to scuff it up a bit.

Welcome to our home-- my new living room makes me smile.

P.S.  I'm linking to the following party: