AN END TO THE SCATTERBRAIN: TO-DO PRINTABLES

Get 'Er Done TO-DO copy

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!

HOMETALK CLIPBOARD FEATURE: DIY GIFT IDEAS

With summertime officially in full force, I have no doubt that many travels, soirees and barbeques will ensue (ehem, Independence Day anyone??). And as those invites pile up, so will your need to find the perfect host/hostess gift that really expresses your heartfelt thanks. Of course, oftentimes a bottle of wine or a six-pack of beer will do the trick! But what to do when you want to give your thanks that little extra oomph…?

Fret not my friends! I have teamed up with Hometalk to curate a little DIY gift giving guide just for you:

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All of these projects are quick, easy, and can be created with what you may already have on hand – and most importantly, will leave your host feeling all tingly inside!

  1. Simmer Potpourri: A mason jar and a few household ingredients is all it takes to turn a house into a home – a good smelling home! Next time you head to a housewarming party, jar up this simple recipe and hand it over as a congratulatory gift. Just remember to make enough for yourself!
  2. Framed Chalkboard: I’m of the mind that one can never have too many chalkboards – especially if you like to host parties. Next time you head to a party, bring a framed chalkboard instead of a thank you card. Bonus if you pair it with flowers or a boxwood plant!
  3. Avocado Seed in a Jar: Remember those childhood days when you’d stick toothpicks in a seed and watch it slowly sprout over the summer? Well, now is the perfect time to go old-school and give the gift of life with this avocado seed! Perfect for a garden-themed or child’s party…and who doesn’t love a little guacamole?
  4. Natural Branch Coasters: After the recent summer storms, you may have a fallen branch or tree laying around in your yard. Instead of chucking it, put it to good use and create beautifully natural coasters! Tie up a set with twine and pair with a pitcher of lemonade or iced tea.
  5. Refinished Breadboards: I am in love with breadboards of all shapes and sizes. Not only are they incredibly useful when hosting a party, they also make excellent wall and table décor! Next time you’re invited to a cocktail party, bring a little added bonus to your gift of wine and cheese by including a baguette with a refinished breadboard (found on a dime at thrift stores, flea markets, yard sales, etc.).
  6. Book Page Rope Bowl: I am in LOVE with this easy-to-do project! All it takes is an old or cheap bowl, a bundle of rope or twine, misc. book pages (or you can use scrap fabric), and a glue gun and voila! Not only did you just clean out your cabinet of an old bowl, but you’ve made yourself an amazing gift for your host. Fill with seasonal fruit for a delicious thank you!
  7. Memo Board: Sometimes, a sweet and simple note is all you need to say thank you. Attach it to a handmade message board for a gift your host will use over and over again!
  8. Who doesn’t love decorative and delicious smelling soap?! With just a few ingredients and 20 minutes, you’ve got yourself a gift your hostess will love.
  9. Rosemary-Citrus Goat’s Milk Soap Bars: If you plan on crashing with friends or family over your summer travels, this is the perfect gift to pack with you. With just a few ingredients and 20 minutes of your time, you’ve got yourself a deliciously fragrant gift your host is unlikely to forget (and a batch makes plenty of gifts to go around)!
  10. Antique Window Signage: I come across antique windows of all shapes and sizes throughout my pickings – and most come at a super cheap price. Try to collect a few during your next antiquing session and you’ll have a guaranteed gift for your next party. Simply add a stencil and pair with flowers, or cookies, or, my personal favorite to go along with a “milk & cream” sign – gourmet coffee! Because your host will definitely need a little pick-me-up.

Have these ideas gotten your creative juices flowing yet? If so, head on over to Hometalk for much more inspiration! There are 10 more projects – you heard me, 10 more! – that will make those juices boil over. And you’ll never have to worry about heading to a party empty-handed again.

DIY THURSDAY: REUPHOLSTERED DINING CHAIRS & A FEW NEW PURCHASES!

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!

Dining Chairs 3

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?!

Dining Chairs 2

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.

Dining Chairs 1

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!

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I also recently snagged a few pieces that didn’t need the slightest bit of upcycling (which makes me very happy!):

Pie Safe

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…

Console Table

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!

NESTING & NURSERY PROGRESS!

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…

Nursery Progress 1 copy

(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…

Nursery in Progress

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!!

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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…

Dresser & Nightstand Set

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…

Patio Table

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!

Projects Galore

With a little help from the dogs, of course!

But back to baby….almost 21 weeks (on Wednesday)!

20 Weeks copy 1

20 Weeks copy 2

20 Weeks copy 3

Obviously this was taken on a productive painting day!

DIY THURSDAY: IT’S ALL ABOUT THE STRIPES.

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!

Antique Dresser copy

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!

Antique Dresser Unfinished copy

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:

Antique dresser Macro

Antique Dresser Green

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!

DIY THURSDAY: GLAMOUR WITH A VINTAGE TWIST

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!

Console Table

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:

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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!

Blue Console

Blue Console Macro

Blue Console 2

What do you think…a little too much or just right?

OH, SWEET SUCCULENTS!

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….

Succulents

Succulents 2

A few more succulents here and there and voila! A little bit of indoor Spring whimsy. If only the outdoors would acquiesce…

Succulents 3

Oh Spring, where art thou?

A FARM TABLE + CHIPPY WOOD PANELS = A VERY HAPPY WIFE!

Ack! I was having a few computer/internet issues yesterday and quickly gave up on writing a post before I tore all of my hair out. But for today, my laptop is back up and running – I pray to the computer gods that it lasts just a little while longer!

So, over the weekend my husband and I drove out to the quaint town of Orange, about 30 minutes outside of Charlottesville, to pick up a farm table that I had found on Craigslist. And let me tell you my friends, it was a steal! Unfortunately, I don’t have photos as it is currently in pieces in the back of my husband’s car, but I can’t wait to put a paintbrush to it.

Currently, the table looks a little something like this:

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I’m not quite sure on what look to go for, however, and would love some input! Here are a few options:

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Natural wood top and distressed grey base.

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Shabby chic white.

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Stained top, white base.

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Or stained top, and base with a nice pop o’ color!

I’d love to take a vote and hear your thoughts!

While in Orange, my husband and I also stopped by an architectural salvage shop called Salvage Wrights and let me tell you, if you’re ever in the area, I highly recommend stopping by! It was  like stepping foot into a little piece of heaven. Weathered wood, chippy paint, shabby shutters, old barn doors, oh my! And the prices are really quite reasonable.

In the midst of looking for a barn door to replace our bathroom door with, I came across some fabulously chippy wood that had come from a patio ceiling of a 1910 farmhouse (and here is an interesting fact: did you know that patio ceilings are often painted sky blue to prevent wasps from nesting? Apparently, the wasps actually believe it to be the sky and will nest elsewhere. I may have to give this a try!). Each panel was 7’ long and there were dozens of them. And at $.50 per linear foot, I couldn’t say no! So I piled 10 boards on top of the farm table and went home a very happy wife.

The very next day, in our excitement, my husband and I threw together a frame fashioned from two of the chippy panels. Here’s a little sneak peak:

Chippy Chalkboard Peek

This guy will soon become a perfectly chippy chalkboard (and will be for sale in my Greenwood retail space) – tutorial coming Thursday!

DIY THURSDAY: ONE DOWN, A DOZEN TO GO…

I mentioned in this post the dozen or more unfinished projects I have sitting around my house, and I have every intention of finishing each one over the month! As a matter of fact, I just finished this guy:

Piano Bench Unfinshed

Please ignore the mess surrounding the bench, my office was in flux at the time!

I had already sanded down the top by the time I remembered to take a photo, but the entire piece was a distressed (and not in a good way) mahogany. So I lightly sanded down the base and began painting it in my favorite go-to color: Annie Sloan Old White.

Piano Bench Unfinished

With a couple layers of Old White, I then distressed the base and left it as is….for months. It didn’t look terrible, it was usable, and I became distracted with other, more challenging, projects. And so it sat. Until this morning.

To add that pop of color that I oh-do love, I painted the interior (yes, the top opens!) in Valspar’s Brushed Orange. I then stained the top in Walco’s Danish Oil in medium walnut, waxed the entire piece in Miss Mustard Seed’s wax, and viola! Finally, a finished product:

Piano Bench Complete

Piano Bench Opened 2

Simple and sweet. Or better yet, business on the outside, and a party on the inside!

And yes, those are real tulips you see in the picture – I needed to give myself a little spring hope in this frigid weather…

Tulips

Oh Spring, where art thou?