Head on over to the NEW SITE to find out how to make this easy festive garland!
Head on over to the NEW SITE to find out how to make this easy festive garland!
15 months into motherhood, I still find myself a bit scatterbrained more often than I care to admit. Unfortunately, I can no longer blame hormones or lack of sleep so I’m simply going to blame motherhood and assume that it will be a long term affliction.
To whip myself into some kind of working order, I created what I like to call the Get ‘Er Done! Series (I live in the Shenandoah, surrounded by country, so I guess a little redneck has rubbed off on me…). This series includes everything I need to keep my personal and business to-do’s within reach and in one place – for me, this is a huge improvement from the handful of moleskins I had scattered about!
I’m going to assume (or maybe hope?) that I’m not the only one out there with my head in the clouds, so to keep us all a little more grounded, I thought I’d share with you what has worked well for me so far…head on over to the new site for the downloads!
One of the many, MANY reasons I am looking forward to Spring is the huge to-do list I can finally begin to tackle. I have so many project ideas bouncing around that I fear my head may burst! Most are for the home and studio, but there is a big hunk o’ metal of an idea sitting right outside my home that is taunting me with the hope of warmer weather…
When my husband and I moved into our house a little over two years ago, it became our chance to mold and define our style together – other than a bed, an armoire (which I hate, by the way!), a couch, a chair, and an entertainment unit, we were starting fresh. And while there has been plenty of compromise and concession (ehem, like that armoire…), our house is finally evolving into a home that reflects our life and lifestyle together.
It’s a never-ending process, of course. The fact that we try to do as much as we can ourselves and by hand has slowed us down drastically! But this is something that I can’t help but appreciate (although sometimes not until after the fact…) – a lot of blood, sweat, and tears have gone into this home so far!
So as someone who very much cares about the look of her home, has made an attempt to decorate said home on a budget, and as a self-taught DIY’er, I thought I’d share a few tips I’ve learned along the way:
1. Use what you already have.
Ever heard the phrase “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure?” Well, it’s time to start shopping your own trash and rediscover those hidden treasures! This entertainment unit, for example, was such an eyesore in my home. I hated it, despised it, and very badly wanted to trash it. My frugal husband, on the other hand, could see no logical reason in getting rid of it and since it was only purchased a couple years prior, insisted on keeping it. That’s where a good ole can of paint and a paintbrush come in – if you can’t toss it, then paint it! In just a few hours, I was able to transform the entertainment unit to something that meshed with our home décor and didn’t offend my sense of style. Is it ideal? Not quite, but it works for now. Which leads me to…
2. Be patient! Transforming a house into a home doesn’t – and shouldn’t – happen overnight.
When we first moved into this house, I wanted everything to be perfect immediately. I wanted every single room to feel complete, with rugs and curtains, a full set of furniture, a fresh coat of paint, and all the comforting details of a room that has been lived in. Problem was, the rooms hadn’t yet been lived in, not by us at least, and by trying to create something that only time and patience and living can create actually created nothing more than a stressful and artificial atmosphere. Take the time to find the rug that really appeals to you, a paint color that makes you light up every time you walk into a room, artwork that truly reflects your personality, and a dining table that you can imagine sitting at with friends and family for many, many years to come. Until then, get creative and make what you have work. Believe me, it’s worth it. This patience is also much easier on the wallet!
3. If you can’t find what you want at a price that you want it, then build it.
My husband and I love the look of original, distressed wood but this kind of furniture often comes with a hefty price tag. Luckily, we had the fortune of discovering old pallets and naturally weathered wood behind our shed when we moved and over the years, have put it to good use. So far, we have built a giant chalkboard, a console table, a sofa table, and a patio table and still have wood to spare! Don’t have weathered wood sitting behind your shed? Craigslist is the perfect place to find some. If weathered wood isn’t your thing, your local Lowes or Home Depot should do the trick! You can find the plans to build practically anything online.
4. Flea Markets and yard sales are your friend!
Going right back to that phrase “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure”….it’s so true! I have found some amazing pieces for pennies simply by taking the time to scour thrift stores, flea markets, and yard sales. Sure, there are a lot of misses, but that one, perfect hit makes it all worthwhile.
(PS…crates are great for storing puppy or children’s toys!)
5. Paint your walls!
This is the first thing my husband and I did when we moved in – we painted our hallway and dining room in a color we love, and then we painted the living room, and the library, and then the kitchen; we painted an accent wall in the guest room and painted the nursery (once my office) twice. It’s amazing how something as simple as painting a wall can completely change a room, brighten it up, or add drama.
6. Create your own art.
Art is expensive and I am still in the process of finding the right pieces to fill my walls. However, one way I have managed to fill the empty space is simply by creating a hanging collection: a gallery of photos, a collection of hats and scarves, wall shelving filled with ironstone, even coats. Have a few old windows or empty frames laying around? Gather them together and layer them up! If you have scraps of pretty patterned material from your sewing supplies or old shirts, frame them and hang them. You can even collect a variety of leaves and flowers during your morning walk or afternoon hike, dry them for a few days between a phonebook, and again, frame them and hang them. Get creative!
In the end, a little creativity goes a long way and not only creates a home with a lot of personality, but also gives your wallet a little break. And believe me, I still have a long list of tips to share so stay tuned – I’ll be continuing the series next week!
Have some suggestions and home decorating tips to share? I’d LOVE to hear them!
Ok ya’ll, let me start by stating: I am NOT a professional reupholsterer by any means. In fact, this was my very first attempt at reupholstering and, well, it isn’t my best work. But luckily, I practiced with very inexpensive drop cloth so…no harm no foul! And practice does make perfect, right?
So with that said, let me share with you my perfectly imperfect dining chairs!
I had been in search of new dining chairs for over a year when I discovered these chairs in the hands of a dealer and friend that I work with. Needless to say, I immediately fell in love – they were exactly what I was looking for! She had two of them in her space and when I sputtered my love for them, she mentioned that she just so happened to have two more in storage – SCORE! I snagged all four of them for an exceptional deal and went home a very happy camper indeed (thanks Ellen!!).
I painted two of them fairly quickly, in my go-to ASCP Old White, but they then sat around for a while as I got up the nerve to replace the stuffing and reupholster the seat. Let me tell you, it looks exceptionally easy but after pulling out hundreds of old, rusty staples, you’ll think otherwise!
I had a bit of trouble with 1. cutting the thick foam stuffing, so the seat corners ended up much more squared than rounded and 2. properly folding the drop cloth around those edges, so I simply folded the whole thing just like I would wrap a package. Whatever works, right?!
I have now finished two of them, have another painted and waxed and ready for reupholstering (waiting as I once again get up the nerve!), and one more needing the complete works.
Perhaps guests should think twice before sitting at my dining table…between seatless chairs and large dogs under the table, it could be dangerous!
But it’s coming together, slowly but surely!
I also recently snagged a few pieces that didn’t need the slightest bit of upcycling (which makes me very happy!):
Ok, the mirror needs upcylcing, but the pie safe is pristine!
I had absolutely no intention of purchasing any furniture on my most recent thrifting trip – I have so many projects in the works that I’m already up to my ears! But when I came across this pie safe, I just couldn’t resist. Not only was it in perfect vintage condition, it was something I had every intention of keeping for myself. And when it was offered to me at an incredibly lowball price, I knew it was meant to be. I can’t wait to fill it with more ironstone!!
Next, I can’t say enough about a little town called Farmville, about an hour South of Charlottesville (VA). If you’re looking for furniture, this is THE place to go! In search of a new rug for the library and a glider for the nursery, my husband and I browsed through 12 warehouses and 700,000 square feet of showroom space that is Green Front Furniture. And holy moly! We ended up spending thousands of dollars and came home not only with exactly what we were looking for, but also a couple pieces that we weren’t. Like the leather chair you see next to the pie safe in the picture above (my husband is a very happy man!), and this guy…
It’s the perfect industrial-rustic touch for the library (aka Man Room).
With all these purchases, I think I’m going to need a bigger house soon!
Well hello my friends – I can’t believe it’s been a month since I last blogged! (Time flies when you’re having fun). Yes, I’ve been in full nesting mode and have been working on a handful of projects that I’m excited to share with you.
First, I have finally made progress on the nursery! You see, I’ve had an idea in my head from the moment I realized I was expecting, but have been dreading the process of actually bringing it to reality – specifically, the painting process. Sure, I do paint for a living, but painting multiple stripes on multiple walls does not sound the slightest bit appealing to me. Add to that a 100 year old home with crooked walls and floors and it’s a recipe for disaster!
But one rainy day I decided to go for it – if it didn’t work out I could just paint over it, right? And after much measuring, taping (a roll and a half of frog tape, to be exact!), and more than a few hissy fits, things finally began to take shape…
(ps…I love, love, LOVE this diaper bag I got from Skip Hop!)
A day and a half later, the straight-ish lines were complete and the crib put together…
And now comes the fun part – the details! I can’t wait to start shopping for the baby blankets, artwork, and pops of color…10 more days until I find out the gender!!
Obviously, I’ve had baby on the brain, but I have also managed to complete a few projects not at all baby related.
Like this dresser that sold in less than a day, and it’s now very lonely counterpart…
Or this outdoor table (built by my wonderful husband) that I painted in ASCP Old White and stained using an aged vinegar and steel wool mixture…
Thank goodness I put on multiple layers of spar urethane before the downpour! Now to purchase new chairs….
And as usual, I have a few other projects that I’m working on simultaneously that I hope to finish after this non-stop rain!
With a little help from the dogs, of course!
But back to baby….almost 21 weeks (on Wednesday)!
Obviously this was taken on a productive painting day!
A few weeks ago, I purchased my very first quart of CC Caldwell’s chalk/clay paint. I’ve been anxious to try it and compare it to Annie Sloan as I heard there were a few noticeable differences. So I picked up a beautiful shade of Green (Tundra Green) and waited for the perfect project to begin my experiment.
When I stumbled upon this adorable antique dresser while browsing Craigslist, I knew it had to be mine. I loved the original castors, the lines, and the engraved detail and immediately envisioned what I was going to do with it – it would look beautiful in a tundra shade of green!
Of course, in my excitement, I forgot to take before pics but the gal I purchased it from was kind enough to email me one of the pictures she had posted on Craigslist.
So on the first good weather day (what is going on with all this rain ya’ll?!), I went to work. As I began applying the CC Caldwell paint, the first thing I noticed was that it wasn’t quite as chalky as the Annie Sloan paint. CC’s is also a noticeably darker shade when wet (due to the clay in it) so you can easily see how quickly it is drying. This may initially freak you out as it did me – your masterpiece will look awful and quite blotchy until the paint is fully dry!
As I continued painting multiple coats, I also happily noticed the lack of odor in the CC paint. Don’t get me wrong, Annie Sloan paints have little odor but it seems to be non-existent in the CC paints! For a pregnant woman, this was a huge plus.
Once I painted on several coats of tundra green, I realized that the dresser needed just a little more oomph. So I pulled out my measuring tape and frog tape, and taped away. For the stripes, I fell back onto my beloved Old White (Annie Sloan). And what a difference the stripes made!
Not the best picture – taken with my phone….
Once the piece was fully dry, I lightly distressed with 180-grit sandpaper, and began waxing. Now, I have used multiple waxes, from Minwax to Miss Mustard Seed Beeswax, to Annie Sloan’s waxes. So I thought I’d give the CC Caldwell wax a try this time around and I must say, I wasn’t disappointed! The can could be a little wider in order to fit in a wax brush, but instead I just used a cloth and it went on nice and light – not streaky at all. And again, there was practically no odor! As you put on the wax, you’ll notice the paint become a darker shade, but again, once it is dry it will go right back to its original color so don’t freak out!
To be quite honest with you, I’m not the biggest fan of the Annie Sloan wax, although I use it often. It’s a little too gloppy and…waxy for me. It seems to streak just a little more than some others. Plus, there is most definitely an odor with the Annie Sloan wax. So far, my favorites have been the MMS wax and now, CC Caldwell’s. Both go on incredibly smooth, have very little odor, and leave a nice streak free sheen. But to each there own!
And voila, after a little buffing of the wax, the dresser was complete:
Yep, it’s definitely all about that stripes. This lovely dresser is now in the shop so stop on by 7572 Greenwood Station Rd. in Greenwood, VA (540-456-4681) if interested!
I’m actually super excited to share my most recent DIY with you today. I veered a bit from the norm, took a risk, and think it turned out amazingly (if I do say so myself…). As mentioned, it sold in a single day so I must have done something right!
As soon as I saw this piece, I fell in love with it. The faux marble top wasn’t ideal, of course, but I loved the lines and at 60% off, I just couldn’t turn it down! So I lugged it home with a few other goodies and immediately began my grand plans…
Now, I’m typically inspired by the clean, crisp whiteness of a room, but lately my eye has been drawn to bold, jewel tones and pops of color. Like these lovely interiors:
Perhaps it’s the thought of warmth and sun and clear, blue skies, but cobalt has become quite the favorite color of mine. Pair it with a deep, glossy black and you have instant glamour! So with the thought of adding a little glamour into my own life, with a vintage twist, I went to work…
First, I sanded down the top and wiped down the table to remove the dust and grit. I then painted the entire piece in Annie Sloan’s Graphite and allowed it to dry for a day. Unfortunately, I forgot to take pictures in my excitement so I ask that you use your imagination!
Once the base layer was dry and settled, I brushed on a layer of Martha Stewart’s crackle medium (available at Michael’s). This is a medium you apply between layers of contrasting colors, and I was not shy in my application – I ended up using the entire bottle! Per the instructions, I allowed the medium to fully dry and then began painting my final layer. For the base, I used Valspar’s Fjord Blue in satin and for the top, I used Valspar’s Kettle Black in semi-gloss.
On a side note, there were actually quite a few things I was nervous about during this whole process: 1) how the crackle would turn out as I had never used the Martha Stewart brand before…if the crackle was too small, you wouldn’t be able to see the Graphite Black underneath, and if the crackle was too large, it would simply look like a big mistake! 2) If I went with too much gloss for the table top. I wanted it to look slightly muted with the Graphite black showing though from the crackle, but it could easily turn out looking like a bad paint job. 3) If I chose the right blue to contrast the black. I’ll let you be the judge…
Once the final layer was dry, I sanded the entire piece, used a bit of gold leafing (also available at Michael’s) to add that little touch of detail (which I also very lightly sanded), and finally, I gave the table a nice protective sheen using Annie Sloan’s clear wax.
Voila! You’ve got yourself some vintage glamour, baby!
What do you think…a little too much or just right?
Hello all and happy Spring! Although, I hate to say that it still feels like the dead of winter here in good ole Charlottesville (seriously, 35 degrees here people!). Oh, how I dream of warmth!
To give myself a bit of a Spring tease, however, I recently toted home a handful of succulents to strategically place around the house. But let me give you a little backstory first…
A few weeks ago my parents decided to pass off a vintage tea set to me. Despite the fact that I really don’t drink tea and have very little storage left in a home lacking closet and cabinet space…it’s impossible for me to turn down anything free and vintage! So I happily lugged it home and plopped the box in a corner of the dining room to sit for the next week.
Now, I’m quite the pro at letting things sit in corners for months at a time, but I’m really making the effort to actually use everything in my home – sort of a “use or lose” philosophy. So with that said, I unpacked the tea set and went about finding it a home, but with a vagrant tea set and a handful of succulents also without an abode, my aha! moment quickly struck….
A few more succulents here and there and voila! A little bit of indoor Spring whimsy. If only the outdoors would acquiesce…
Oh Spring, where art thou?
Today is a day that makes me feel as though Spring is right around the corner. Unfortunately, come tomorrow, temps are going to drop again, but a girl can dream can’t she?!
With a studio that lacks heat, and the lack of a garage or basement, I have to take advantage of days like today (paint doesn’t work too well in temps less than 45 degrees!). With that said, I hope to finish at least one of these projects I have in the works…
Set of 4 cane back chairs needing a new paint job and reupholstering.
A game table.
A lovely vintage mirror.
And a soon-to-be fabulous console table!
The chairs I will actually be keeping for myself, but once finished, the rest of the pieces will be on sale at Greenwood Antiques!
First come, first serve ya’ll!