SHARING THE LOVE…HOLIDAY STYLE!

In the midst of holiday decorating, I thought I’d share with you a bit of inspiration…

This tree over at Thrifty and Chic is so simple and elegant. I love all white décor and am always envious of those that can pull it off. Unfortunately, with a little dog that just loves to get dirty, any white décor I have tends not to stay white for long! joy to the world

Trish over at Uncommon Designs created this adorable mantle piece using stained pallet wood, paper mache letters from JoAnn’s, and umbrella lights from World Market. And the burlap banner and stockings – oh my! You can find the full post here.

With $15 and hundreds of old ornaments on hand, Virginia over at Live Love DIY put together this fantastically frugal tree. Head on over to her post for a full tutorial!

Speaking of ornaments, this fabric covered ball was created by Whitney at Shanty to Chic. All you need as an ugly Christmas tree ornament, fabric of your choosing, a glue gun, twine, and ribbon. Viola – a brand new ornament!

And lastly, this no sew ruffled tree skirt is right up my alley! Get the full tutorial over at The Happier Homemaker.

Happy decorating!

ps…to really get yourself in the holiday decorating spirit, you can watch this video of Bo inspecting the White House holiday décor! (found over at Jess in Belgium).

DIY THURSDAY: SEASONAL WREATH & A BOXWOOD FIND.

‘Tis the season. I am slowly packing up my Fall décor and transitioning over to Christmas – I’ve given myself until Dec. 1 to get in gear! And while I have yet to unpack the boxes brimming with Christmas spirit, I have found a moment to get my holiday craft on.

Before diving into my DIY, however, I must divulge to you a most amazing deal! I mentioned in a previous post that Trader Joes was selling boxwood wreaths, but at the time I wasn’t quite sure of cost or size. Well, I happened to swing by Trader Joes yesterday and to my disbelief, these adorable and perfectly sized wreaths were only $9.99! Needless to say, I left with an armful (and a dazzling smile). At such a fabulous price, I highly recommend grabbing a few for yourself before they are all out!

Boxwood Doubled

I then headed to Michael’s and left with an armful of supplies…

My first task was to hang up my newly purchased boxwood wreaths. Two of them were perfect as is for my dining room French doors – I simply wrapped a ribbon around each and pinned them to the door. For my third boxwood, I wanted to add a little zest, so I wove in a few berries, added a couple of doves, a few pinecones, and again, hung with ribbon:

Boxwood Styled

Now full of holiday spirit, I moved on to my next project:

Twig Wreath Unfinished

I picked up this guy while at Michael’s, as well as this:

Materials

So with the Krylon in hand, I lightly sprayed the wreath to give it that frosted look, allowed the paint to dry, and then sprayed the snow in areas where snow would typically gather…

Twig Wreath Sprayed

I then wove in a few red berries and added a couple of cardinals for that pop of color (unfortunately, the Charlottesville Michael’s was out of a lot of supplies so I only managed to snag two of them, but as soon as a new shipment comes in, I’ll be adding more!).

Here is what it looks like in the meantime, simple and sweet:

Twig Wreath

Finally, since I didn’t quite complete the above wreath and my hands were itching for another project, I decided to fashion another, smaller, sheet music wreath for my living room mantle:

Sheet Music Wreath

(yeah, that’s an a/c vent you see there, right in the center of my living room wall! Not sure why the renovator decided to place it there…but it is the bane of my existence. I try to hide it as much as possible!)

You can find the tutorial here.

After this little bit of crafting, I’m now feel like I’m on a roll. Next: the mantles. Time to break out my big box of Christmas!

A VERY MERRY GIFT GUIDE: THE HOSTEST WITH THE MOSTEST.

December is a month of celebration, for life and love, for the joys of the year behind us and hope for the year ahead. For many of us, December actually IS one big party, or rather, many, many little parties.

And if you’re anything like me, you’d be absolutely and terribly mortified showing up to any one of these parties without a gift in hand. Of course, per #5 in the Random Facts About Me, I’m the second worst procrastinator I know! So in typical fashion, I’d be running around like a crazy person 30 minutes before said party in a desperate attempt to find an acceptable hostess gift.

BUT, since I have vowed to keep my cool this December… procrastinate less, shop more (not for myself, unfortunately), and have that perfect gift at the ready, I’ve decided to throw together a very merry gift guide for myself and all you other crazies out there!

Without further ado:

The Very Merry Gift Guide 2

Gift Guide For the Hostess with the Mostess
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And for all you DIYers out there, here are a few more adorably frugal gift ideas:

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Create a DIY chart with your own holiday message! You can find a tutorial here and an actual chart maker here.

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Purchase a few wood heart cutouts – found at Michaels, Hobby Lobby, or most local craft stores – paint on chalk board paint in a color of your choosing, drill a hole, and attach ribbon. Viola, you’ve got yourself a perfect hostess gift!

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This one is for DIYers and non-DIYers alike! Grab yourself a boxwood wreath and a festive ribbon and you’re done. If you’re feeling a little more crafty, add some berries and clip on a small, white bird.

And if you’re the hostess this year, hopefully you’ll find yourself with some fabulous goodies Winking smile

Cheers!

DIY THURSDAY: GIVING THANKS.

With the holidays very quickly approaching, I thought it an excellent idea to offer an inspirational tutorial for a gift any “hostess with the mostest” would adore.

I strongly believe that one can never have too many bread boards. Seriously. Not only do they offer a multitude of serving opportunities, they are fabulous as home décor: to be hung, piled, filed, and everything in between. You can paint them in chalk board paint to serve as a menu board, you can convert them into trays, you can use them in floral and fruit arrangements – truly, the possibilities are endless!

pretty!French inspired

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So whenever I come across vintage breadboards on my picking adventures, I immediately snatch them up (and always on such a dime!). Of course, “vintage” tends to come with a bit of wear and tear so needless to say, a little TLC is necessary with these purchases…

First and foremost, you need to sand the suckers down! I started with my electrical sander on the flat surfaces and then hand sanded with 150-grit sandpaper along the edges and corners.

Unfortunately, I forgot to take “before” pictures prior to the sanding, but here are the boards post sanding:

Bread Boards Sanded

Once the boards were sanded to their original grain, I washed them with soap and hot water and let them fully dry before sanding again with 220-grit sandpaper to smooth down any raised grain. I then wiped each board down with a damp cloth to remove the dust and then began staining.

*Now, with bread boards it is important to use food-safe oils such as teak oil, danish oil, mineral oils, or designated butcher block oils that cure IN the wood rather than ON the wood. I chose a butcher block oil for the larger board and a danish oil in a medium walnut stain for the smaller board.

And when applying these oils, I like to use a small a small chip brush – you can purchase an entire pack for only a few dollars at your local hardware store – but this is merely a preference and a clean, soft cloth will work just as well.

Here are the boards with one coat of oil:

Bread Boards Stained

It is also important to note the drying time for any oil that you use as the boards ARE NOT food safe until the distillates are FULLY cured. This can take days or even weeks so please be sure to read the instructions fully and carefully!

Once the boards have cured, you’re done!

Bread Boards Complete

Simply wrap them as you see fit, slip in a card, and voila! The perfect hostess gift.

Bread Boards Bundled

For an additional challenge, or if you’re flea market search doesn’t pan out, you can also consider making your own!

Want to add a few cheeses to go along with the bread boards (because who doesn’t love cheese?!)? Be sure to refer to Joanna’s handy, dandy cheese guide and you can’t go wrong.

Enjoy!

BRAINSTORMING: KITCHEN RENOVATION…

I’m sure I’ve mentioned on multiple occasions the love/hate relationship I have with my kitchen. It’s cute, but in an adorably dirty little kid kind of way. Yeah, it’s small, it’s in need of a new paint job and a good scrub, it desperately needs more cabinet and counter space, and frankly, it’s just a bit embarrassing.

I’m not kidding! Take a peek for yourself…

Kitchen 2012

Eek!

Obviously, per the upper right corner, we will be repainting very soon – as soon as my husband and I can actually agree on a color….(he actually loves the color the kitchen currently is, but considering that I spend far more time in it than he does, I put  my foot down and demanded something a little more mellow!).

Kitchen Window

This window is one of the rare things I love about the kitchen. It brings in so much natural light and manages to keep me fairly entertained while I cook.

Kitchen Pantry

But this is where things truly begin to go downhill – oh, the horror! I love open cabinets otherwise, and our kitchen has many of them, but this pantry needs to be behind closed doors, period.

Needless to say, a renovation is necessary, so over the last few months, I’ve been collecting ideas that we could incorporate into this less than ideal kitchen. Here are a few things that I found:

Kitchen Changes

Images via here and here.

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Images via here and here.

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Image via here.

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Image via here.

With this in mind, let’s go back to the current state of my kitchen with a few plans written in…

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With a roof to replace and a studio shed to build, we are probably going to renovate a little at a time, starting with the painting and the bead board, but I’m certain even that tiny bit will go a long way!

What do you think – good start? Any suggestions?

DIY THURSDAY: BEFORES AND AFTERS…

Well, I somehow managed to get sick for the second time in one month. Tis the season, I suppose, but I fully blame the overly-crowded DC metro on this one!

With my head a bit fuzzy and my nose feeling as though it’s about to burst, I decided to forgo the planned DIY project for this week. I was resolved to post something equally entertaining, however, and was wracking my brain on what it could possibly be when my Aha! moment hit.

Who doesn’t love before and after pictures?!

I’ve lived in my home for just under 2 years now, and while the progression has been slow going, it’s still a world of a difference from what it was before we moved in. So without further ado…

LIVING ROOM: (repainted in Valspar Chalk Green)

Living Room Before

Living Room 2012 - AFTER

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(You can find the tutorial on the wall gallery here.)

DINING ROOM: (repainted in Valspar Oatmeal)

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(DIY shelving tutorial here.)

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(Architectural décor tutorial here.)

HALLWAY: (repainted in Valspar Oatmeal)

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(Barn door coat rack tutorial here.)

Needless to say, it’s still a work in progress, but I can’t deny that I’m happy with the progression! Next up: the kitchen and the library!

What do you think? Do you have any befores and afters you would like to share? If so, feel free to send them my way and I will share a few in Next Thursday’s post!

SHARING THE LOVE…CONTINUED.

Hi all! Unfortunately, I must make this quick as I need to start my drive into DC any minute now! I’m off to visit friends and cheer on others at the Marine Corp Marathon on Sunday (run, Maffy, RUN!).

To continue sharing the love…I recently came across a few DIY projects that should keep you busy over the weekend and hopefully add a little holiday cheer to your home.

1. First, if you haven’t yet started your Fall décor, this classically simple wreath would be an adorable addition to your front porch:

Found via The Charm of Home. Don’t you just love that burlap ribbon?

If you’d like to add a Thanksgiving twist to the wreath, consider adding faux fruit, such as pears and grapes, instead.

2. This oversized moss letter via Dear Lillie is fabulous! You may have seen similar oversized letters via Pottery Barn – for $79 (not including shipping & handling). Well, Jennifer over at Dear Lilly offers a complete oversized moss letter tutorial…and on a miniscule budget!

3. Speaking of oversized letters, this monogrammed wall hanging would be such a sweet and personal touch to a wall gallery. Tonya over at Love of Family and Home offers her own tutorial.

4. And lastly, these newsprint page candles via The Shabby Creek Cottage would be such a charming touch to any mantle!

pottery barn knock off candle

You can also consider using vintage sheet music….particularly if you enter my giveaway and win! Yep…

TWO lucky winners will receive a large stack of vintage sheet music for your crafting pleasure. All you have to do is follow me via Facebook, Twitter, or email (or all of the above), and leave a comment on this post each time you do so. I will select two winners at random.

This giveaway will close on 10/28/12 at 11:59 EST. Winners will be announced on Monday!

For more vintage sheet music inspiration, go here.

Have a great weekend ya’ll!

DIY THURSDAY: SHEET MUSIC WREATH & A GIVEAWAY!

Don’t you just love Thursdays? With the holiday season quickly approaching (I can’t believe it’s already the end of October!), I thought I’d share with you a quick and easy project that just may help with your holiday décor…

I’m sure many of you have seen Miss Mustard Seed’s sheet music wreath:

When I first set my eyes on this adorable wreath, I fell a little bit in love, so I set out to make my own.

First, I loaded up my makeshift work station (aka my living room floor) with all the items I needed:

  1. A stack of vintage sheet  music (which I happen to have BOXES of…)
  2. A glue gun and glue
  3. Ribbon
  4. Scissors
  5. Pine cone (optional)

Really, that’s all it takes! Now, some of you may be wondering where in the world am I going to find vintage sheet music? To help you along with this little problem, I will be giving away TWO large stacks of vintage sheet music for TWO lucky readers! The how and the when is revealed at the end of this post, so read on my friends!

After I had all my supplies on hand, I began by folding and carefully ripping a few sheets into eighths (you’re welcome to use scissors, but I happen to like the distressed affect ripping gives). With a few more sheets I then did the same with fourths and then with halves.

Stages of Music Wreath

Once I had enough pages torn, I folded each set of eighths, fourths, halves, as well as full pages into cones, using the glue gun as needed.

Music Wreath Progress

I continued to fold these miscellaneous sized pages into cones until I had enough to my liking, and then the fun really began!

*Please note: if you happen to be doing this project on a surface you do not want to get glue all over, make sure you lay down a mat, newspaper, scrap piece of paper, what have you, BEFORE you get glue gun happy in order to protect said surface!

Per Miss Mustard Seed’s wreath, she may have begun by gluing her largest set of cones together into a circular shape to create a solid foundation, and then proceeded to layer each varying size set of cones over that to get the final product you see above. I, on the other hand, wanted to go for a slightly more disheveled look, and so began with the smallest set of cones, using a cut out circle as my backbone…

Music Wreath Progress 2

This is the backside of the wreath in progress (and I was actually working on newspaper, but moved the wreath to the carpet for picture purposes only!)

I then began vaguely layering each varying size of cones into the gaps, using plenty of glue in the process, until the wreath was to my liking. Once all the cones were in place, I glued a small pine cone into the center just for that little extra oomph, and glued ribbon onto the backside to hang. And the final product….

Music Wreath Complete

Viola!

I just love how it turned out! Of course, this wreath could stand on its own anytime of year, but with a little added garland, it would make the perfect holiday décor. You could also consider making miniature versions of this wreath as Christmas tree decorations, or to use as a bow for those special presents.

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Now on to the important part!

TWO lucky winners will receive a large stack of vintage sheet music for your crafting pleasure. All you have to do is follow me via Facebook, Twitter, or email (or all of the above), and leave a comment below each time you do so. I will select two winners at random.

This giveaway will close on 10/28/12 at 11:59 EST. Winners will be announced on Monday!

If the wreath wasn’t inspiration enough, here are just a few more things you can do with sheet music…

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If you weren’t one of the lucky winners, you can purchase stacks of sheet music from my shop Smile

LINKED TO:

Katie's Nesting Spotshabby creek cottageMade in a Day

DIY THURSDAY: OLD COAT RACK = ARCHITECTURAL DECOR

I’m a huge fan of those old, chippy, and occasionally rotten wooden architectural pieces. In fact, I’d like to have far more of them in my home. Unfortunately, it just so happens that they often come with a hefty price tag, or they are so rotten that they simply fall apart in my hand! So until I stumble upon those pieces that speak to me – without instantly crumbling into dust – I have to settle with what I have or simply create something similar…

Aha! Some of you may remember the barn door turned coat rack I put up in place of this piece:

Old Coat rack

Well, today I finally decided to do something with it. A few swipes of paint and a dab of dark wax would transform this piece into the perfect architectural décor for my French door frame. So off to work I went…

Coat Rack Before

First, and quite obviously, I needed to remove the hardware, so I grabbed a Phillips-head screw driver, removed all the screws, pulled off the hooks, and put them to the side for use on another project.

Coat Rack During

I then sanded down the holes a bit and filled each one with wood-filler. After allowing the filler to quickly dry, I lightly sanded again, wiped down the entire piece with a damp cloth, and began painting in…you guessed it, Annie Sloan’s Old White!

Coat Rack During 2

With two light coats of chalk paint, I gave it time to fully dry, and then once again lightly sanded the piece down, distressing at the corners and along the edges.  After wiping it free of dust, I began waxing the entire piece with Annie Sloan’s clear wax. Once the clear wax was buffed, I then began applying dark wax, making sure I really worked it into all of the nicks and grooves:

Coat Rack Waxed

With the dark wax, I tend to work in smaller sections – this piece was small enough for me wax on half the piece with dark wax, and then wax off with clear wax before the dark wax fully dried. I then repeated the process on other half. This process removes the majority of the dark wax, leaving behind a light stain on the majority of the piece, and a darker, almost dirty-like stain in the nicks and grooves. The final product looked like this:

Coat Rack Complete Macro

It took me a while to hang it above the French doors – I really could have used a second pair of hands! But after struggling with it a bit this morning, I finally managed to get it in place, and fairly straight too!

Coat rack Completed Hung

It’s a little more brown than I would typically paint, but I think it mirrors (pun intended) this piece directly across from it quite nicely:

Mirror in Dining Room

What do you think? Do you have miscellaneous items laying around that, with a little TLC, can be transformed into architectural décor? Time to start rummaging around in your garage!

LINKED TO:

Furniture Feature FridaysMade in a DayKatie's Nesting Spotshabby creek cottage

DIY THURSDAY: MILK PAINTED DESK.

I’ve been waiting with bated breath for Miss Mustard Seed’s Milk Paint to arrive (via Red Posie) and the big moment finally arrived yesterday afternoon. It was a bit like Christmas morning opening the box and a shiver of excitement came over me as I peered down at my powdered paint. I couldn’t wait to use it!

Unfortunately, it was already late in the day and since I was only 85% recovered from the bug I had caught earlier in the week, I decided to give it one more day….but come this morning, I popped out of bed and went straight to work (well, after a cup o’ joe or two, of course).

Now, I’ve been saving a particular piece for this paint – a piece small enough to finish quickly and cheap enough that if I screwed it up, I wouldn’t be heartbroken.

Student Desk Unfinished

A cute little student desk!

I’m embarrassed to say, but this piece has actually been sitting in my kitchen – sort of as a kitchen island – for almost a year while I’ve been (very patiently) waiting to repaint and lightly renovate the walls and pantry. Hey, desperate times call for desperate measures! Needless to say, when I got wind of the MMS line of paint, this was the first piece that came to mind.

So, with the powdered form of milk paint in hand, I happily began the  transformation.

Before I get into the details of the project, however, I must give you a pre-painting tip that is particularly useful if you’ve never used milk paint before: I would highly, HIGHLY recommend watching the MMS milk paint tutorials! In my excitement to use the milk paint, I decided to forgo this and immediately regretted this decision when mixing the paint. Frankly, I had no idea what it was supposed to look like, what consistency it was supposed to be, etc. It is very different than your typical latex, acrylic, or chalk paint!

With this said, I added just a little more water that I should have and ended up with what I like to call “skim” milk paint rather than what should have been “whole” milk paint. Hence, when applying the paint, it was a bit runny.

I went with it, nevertheless, and after sanding the top of the desk to its original grain (which took a heck of a lot of sanding!), I painted the base with the first coat of my runny milk paint in Ironstone

Student Desk Half Finished

You can’t quite tell from the above picture, but when the milk paint begins to dry, you can see areas in which the paint doesn’t fully adhere and actually begins to chip. If this is an affect you’d rather avoid then make sure you mix the bonding agent in with the paint mixture! I happen to love the chippy affect, so I left the mixture as is.

I allowed the paint to dry for approximately 30 minutes then took a putty knife to very lightly remove the chipping pieces. I then added a second coat of milk paint and repeated the process. Once I achieve my desired “chippy” look, I added one coat of MMS clear wax to seal the paint and give the piece a nice, natural sheen. Finally, I brushed on a coat of Danish Oil in medium walnut…Student Desk Almost Complete

One coat of Danish Oil down, which you can see is still a little wet.

…allowed it to dry for 30 minutes before applying a second coat, and voila! After allowing the second coat to dry for another 15 minutes and wiping the whole piece down with a cloth, it looked like this:

Student Desk Finished

Student Desk Finished 2

Did I mention that we’ll be repainting soon?! As you can see, it’s much needed!

Student Desk Macro

I actually love how it turned out (I’m still working on my photography so the piece looks a bit better in person…) and particularly love the chippiness of it, but it’s definitely important to be aware of how milk paint works before applying it! What do you think?

LINKED TO:

homeworkPhotobucketFurniture Feature Fridays