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Posts Tagged ‘DIY’

So We Painted a House

*update: I failed to document the paint colors we used when painting this house, so I’m sorry for not including that information below. This was so many years ago that I’m not able to track them down at this point. My apologies!

Hello, blog friends. I won’t even waste my time apologizing for my absence because really, I have no excuse. I just decided to not blog for a while. But now that we completed a HUGE, much awaited project, I can’t wait to share!

Here is our house. When we purchased it five years ago, the listing called it a “cream puff of a house” and that slogan always stuck in my mind. The color was definitely cream-puff in nature and just plain boring. The paint was in good shape when we bought the house though, so I kept my mouth shut (for the most part) and dealt with a less than lovely house color.

Fast forward 5 years and Scott and I were going for a walk around the neighborhood with Chachie (what my nephew so affectionately calls Charlie) when my husband said that we needed a new house project this summer. I refrained from mentioning the house color yet again, even though the paint was starting to show some wear in some areas. Well, lo and behold, without any pressing from this girl, my husband suggested that we paint the house. Two high kicks and a month later, we had our colors selected (from a starting pile of 100 options and several Pinterest ideas) and started on the project of the year. This is what we came up with:

Freaking adorable, isn’t it? I’m smitten. We didn’t want a drastic change, but we did want to get away from the creamy yellow and black combination. We first considered gray, but neighbors on both sides were gray, so that was out. Then white came to mind, but we were afraid the house would look too washed out with the white trim. We then decided on a cool beige with lovely blue and gray accents, and it was the perfect decision for us. Nothing outlandish, a little bit classic and a little bit cottage. Perfecto.

The best part (or the worst, however you look at it) is that we painted the whole thing ourselves. That’s right – we painted every square inch of our home in the beginning of an extremely hot summer. It may not have been our brightest idea, but we’ve lived to tell the tale. We contemplated renting a sprayer to make the painting part easier, but decided that the cost/time of prepping to spray just wasn’t worth it to us. My sore muscles say otherwise, but I think we definitely made the right choice. We spent about 18 hours total trimming everything, rolling, and painted the shutters and all doors new colors. We aren’t quite finished, if you look at the pictures closely. We still need to roll the two longer sides one more time and paint the foundation, but for the most part we’re there. Now, for some before and after comparisons:

Isn’t it so f***ing charming you could just die? The side by side of just the house color isn’t that drastic in pictures but believe me, it’s a big change in person. Our neighbors can’t stop commenting on how much better it looks and we can’t stop beaming (proud, much?).

Please excuse our wilted plants – it’s 104 degrees outside. Literally. Oh, you’d like to see some more picture so the beautiful door color? I thought you’d never ask.

Hope everyone has a wonderful Independence Day holiday and stays cool!

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Don’t be Shady

It’s a funny thing, being an adult and living away from your parents. You grow up with these people who care for you every day and then once you’re old enough to survive on your own, you hardly see them. Going from 24 hours a day to just a weekend here or there really makes a difference in the relationships you have with people, especially your family. My parents came in town a coupe of weekends ago for my Mom’s 60th birthday and it reminded me how much I love my family. And I was reminded of their quirks. I somehow forgot the way my Dad clears his throat or sucks air through his teeth, since I don’t experience it everyday. Or the way that he used to add water to empty ketchup bottles to get the last bit out and we would all groan when we squirted a watery stream of ketchup onto our dinner plates. And I certainly forgot how I am EXACTLY LIKE MY MOTHER in almost every aspect. Thank goodness I think she’s swell or this could be quite the disappointing revelation.

Since this was such a momentous birthday, I had to make things a bit special. I corralled my other siblings and their adorable kids to take pictures of themselves with a birthday wish and then had a surprise waiting for my Mom when she woke up on her birthday. Simple, inexpensive and awesome.

After whipping up some delicious Idaho Sunrise , we headed out to Mary Jo’s Cloth store (aka the best fabric store in all of existence) to find some fabric for my mom. Fabric + Mom = happiness.  I also wanted to pick up something for a little project I asked my Mom to help me with, as a belated birthday present. After our recent kitchen renovations, I wanted a little bit of pattern/fabric in the room, and was hoping my seamstress of a mother could help me figure out a faux roman shade. I pinned a couple of tutorials, and I’ll have to lead you to those instead of explaining the process myself. Frankly, I’m not sure how we got to the end product, but I’m glad we survived.

This is my sewing machine. And no, that’s not a joke. And yes, I know she’s ancient. But I have a special little place in my heart for her. My grandmother, who is an incredible quilter, bought my sister, mom and I this little Singer a loooong time ago in hope that we would all have a well made sewing machine to grow old with. I rarely sew, and know even less about it, but when I do – this Singer treats me well.

Our faux roman shade started with 1.5 yards of pretty fabric, and the same amount of liner fabric (a remnant for $1.75 – score!) and some white thread. My mom walked me through the basics of sewing a large rectangle (with the liner smaller than the shade fabric so you could have the pretty fabric wrap around the back) and how important it is to iron, iron, iron while sewing. The fabric shade was as long as the entire window, and just slightly wider (after seam allowances) than the wood blinds I have on the kitchen window. We flipped that puppy right side out, stitched the bottom hem and got to figuring out how the folds would work.

Why yes, we sew in our jammies. Aren’t we fancy? This picture is deceiving, though. My Mom was definitely the driving force behind this project, but I did do a good portion of the sewing. Of a rectangle. It’s an accomplishment, folks.

I wish a had a magic formula for how we figured out the folds, but that didn’t happen. I just knew I wanted the finished shade to be 18″ long (about 1/3 of the window) so we finagled our way to that dimension. We sewed the areas that would be hidden by other folds on the machine, and then whip stitched the back liner of the other folds to keep thing from being droopy.

We then wrapped a 1×3 with our leftover fabric, draped the shade over the wood and stapled in place, and attached the whole thing to our window frame with some metal L brackets. And by we, I mean my dad and husband after an early morning golf game and a quick power nap.

Why yes, we hang window treatments in our jammies as well. The faux shade took a bit of trial and error but overall it was a really simple project. And I’m kind of giddy over the final product.

Hello, lover. Scott says is looks “western” but I say it looks fabulous. Again I’m on the ikat train after years of despising it. I think I’m growing up.

Thoughts on the new addition? Oh, and you can thank my husband, the Punisher, for the winning title of this post. Neat.

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’tis the Season

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas around here! Or, insert your favorite holiday cliché to accompany this collage.

Is it weird that I feel more festive this season because of my new bangs? Is it strange that somehow I feel more merriment oozing from my being because I cut certain strands of my hair slightly shorter so they hang against my forehead?

 

I think I answered my own question.

 

Bangs or no bangs, it’s finally frigid here and we’re finished with our holiday decorations. The mistletoe candle is a’burnin and we’ve busted out the hot chocolate more than once. I love the holidays! Hope your home is warm, cozy and filled with holiday pom pom garland (tutorial to come)!

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Ah, Fall.

Is anyone out there taking crap from their yard, putting it in glass vases, and calling it Holiday decor?

No? Just me? Ah, well. Happy Fall, y’all!

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Could there be anything more difficult to pick out than artwork? Not only does it make a statement in your home, but it’s an investment as well. While I’ve been working on my little master bedroom update, I’ve been researching artwork options to flank our bed (as well as researching bedside tables). I searched high and low and found some great options, but nothing was singing to me. That is, until I found this pin on Pinterest.

Jackpot. Graphic? Check. Free? Double check. Easy to change without guilt once I get tired of it? Bingo. I give all the credit of this idea to How about Orange, a great site for DIY ideas. I put my own twist on this with different colors, but the creativity was all from her original print. Jessica used Glidden paint swatches for her artwork, but I decided to try out the Martha Stewart line of paint colors from Home Depot. I kept on hearing how great her colors are, and lord knows I don’t need to paint my house anymore, so I figured this was the perfect opportunity to try them out (colors listed at the end of the post).

I grabbed four of each paint color (is taking that many swatches from Home Depot even legal?), but each print took about 70 triangles and I got 4 triangles from each swatch… so you can do the math. :) I cut all my little triangles (2″ tall x 1.25″ wide, per the tutorial) and got to work on my completely random layouts.

Cute, right? These prints were as simple as gluing triangles to a piece of paper – because that’s essentially what I did. I made one print a little lighter (mine) and one a little darker (Scott) so I would have his/her artwork for our bedroom.

I hung the prints behind our lamps, which may seem strange, but hanging them above the lamps would have ended up looking very awkward. When the print is hung at a height that relates to the furniture underneath it, it creates a sort-of vignette with the table, lamp and print – so all three pieces serve as one element in the room. Also, hanging art too high is just decorating suicide – keep that in mind, folks. You want a room to die? Hang art above eye level and you’ll succeed.

Notice our new white bedding and gray striped sheets? These are the summer changes I’ve been talking about – and we kinda love them. More on that later!

 Paint swatches used (all Martha Stewart Line): Talc, Sandpiper, Cityscape, Bayou, Eiderdown, Parchment Paper, Fennel Seed, Oolong Tea, Dried Chamomile, Schoolhouse Slate, Gabardine, and Falcon.

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This is the story of how I saved a couple bucks, realized what smart friends I have, and convinced my husband to get on board with pink furniture. How could these three things all possibly be about one little weekend project? I’m not quite sure, but that’s how this post started and I’m sticking to it.

For the past few months, I have been obsessed with researching new night stands for our bedroom. OBSESSED. I searched every (reasonably priced) furniture store I know of, checked every local antique store, and even spent hours on Pinterest (shocker) searching for inspiration or something that would be the. perfect. thing. for my master bedroom. You may or may not remember, but I was starting to tire of my sad little Ikea night stands, in these pictures of yore:

Kind of nondescript, right? Sure, when I purchased them 5 years ago, they were my first Ikea purchase and I was pretty excited at how great they looked for a whopping $30 dollars. But, they just weren’t cutting it for the updates we were doing in our bedroom, and it was time for a change. Hence, my extensive search.

After months of searching that only led to really expensive options or night stands I just wasn’t wild about, the lightbulb turned on that maybe I could reuse my existing Ikea night stands. Don’t I (and all other bloggers) preach about the wonders of paint and how they can dress up even the most drab of furnishings? Yes, of course, paint! Why hadn’t I thought of that before?

(imagine here a before shot of my nightstands with casters, followed by lots of action shots of me refinishing these tables. Bad blogger.)

Yes, the Ikea casters were not only very boring (i.e. lacking any architectural details) but they also had casters. I knew that if I was going to keep these nightstands in my house, I had to give them a proper foot. With cheap plastic casters, they were the ugly duckling of the house and I knew it was time for an upgrade. So the renovation started with lots and lots of research on furniture feet, which eventually led me to $2.00 bun feet at Lowe’s – the perfect proportions for my simple nightstand.

As for the finishing, I went to my coworker for advice, since her husband is a professional carpenter/finisher/jack of all trades. I was a bit hesitant to re-finish these cheap pieces of furniture, but I figured if there was a way, my expert friend would know it. Not only did I get great advice (for re-finishing cheap, wood-ish Ikea furniture), I got a plethora of great information and tools to use during my project. Seriously, it pays to have friends that are experts in fields you aren’t! First, I started with sanding the night stands so that a primer would actually stick to the laquer-esque finish. Then, I applied one coat of oil-based Kilz primer (oil based sticks to everything, especially your hands), sanded slightly, and got ready for the paint.

Yes, I have pink nightstands, and I love them. I’ve been working on neutralizing my bedroom (to be revealed at a later date – oh, the anticipation!) but I knew that I wanted some fun pops of color to keep things interesting. I pulled some paint swatches, most of which were in the terra-cotta family, and went to the husband for final approval. He wasn’t pleased. He said something along the lines of “I’m not having pink furniture in my house” and suggested I do something lime green or a crackle finish. After such comments, I had to re-iterate that I am a designer and he should trust me on this one – especially considering the alternative (see heinous suggestions above). I painted one, even coat of my new salmon paint, sanded with a fine, brillo-like sanding pad (from my professional, finisher friend) and painted another coat. At this point, my husband understood and got on board with the lovely, pink paint.

After the paint dried for a day or two, I applied two thin coats (sanding in between, of course) of water-based polyurethane to give a hearty finish to our night stands. We let the poly dry for a good two days before moving it back into the room and putting our belongings on them. Sure, the night stands could stand a little bit of styling (or some baskets to conceal my explosion of un-read books) but I’m so excited with the very inexpensive improvement. These certainly aren’t my forever solution, but for now, they’re just dandy. Dandy and pink go together quite well, right?

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Clean as a (silver) Whistle

When two friends on separate occasions mention that you haven’t blogged in a while, it’s about time you pay a visit to blogland. I’m sure I’m at the risk of having a third friend drop a not-so-subtle hint* and I’d hate to disappoint another buddy. So, I’ll share a little clean-up job I did a few weeks back. I’d love to share pictures of my house, but it’s an absolute hot mess right now. Just to paint you a pretty picture: we have two unpacked suitcases in the bedroom (about to be packed again tomorrow), 2 dresses drying/hanging from the laundry closet, a womb chair full of towels and a half eaten pot of vodka pasta turning into a paste on the stove. Yeah, a hot mess. It’s definitely wedding season and we’ve been in full-time travel mode – thus, the house suffers.

Even though the house is in shambles, I’ve had time for a few (very random) projects. You see, I have this lovely necklace that was a bit worse for the wear. I’ve only recently learned that you shouldn’t shower/swim in nice jewelry because it tarnishes it. Basic jewelry 101, right? I wanted to see if I could revive my favorite necklace, so I visited my good friend Google and came up with this.

Riveting picture, right? I wrapped a bowl in foil, added in the salt, baking soda and hot water, and watched the magic begin. Just like the google search said, I could see immediate results.

I only left the necklace in the solution for a minute or so and then rinsed it with some cold water once it was done. I. Was. Shocked. I had tried to clean that necklace numerous times with jewelry cleaners, etc. and nothing even made a dent. Who knew that 2 minutes in a salt/baking soda solution would bring my necklace back to life?

I forgot to take a before shot (story of my life) but the clean necklace (right) is next to another tarnished necklace that I cleaned a bit later. Impressive results, right? Hope this free little trick will help you clean your otherwise ruined jewelry/silverware!

*scratch that, my husband just said “you haven’t blogged in a month!”. D’oh.

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Back in Black

Operation “fix up this house” is still underway, despite the fact that we decided to stay put. We had our house appraised recently to see if our hunch was correct, and unfortunately it was. The appraisal had “terrible market” and “wrong time to sell” written all over it. Ah, such is life. We figured we weren’t immune to the economic downturn, but you can’t hurt a girl for trying, right?

Despite the semi-bad news, we still wanted to do a few easy projects around the house that had been on the list for a good long while. One of these was painting our front door. A super simple project, but something that we couldn’t do during the blistering cold months of winter. Why did we need to paint the front door so badly?

Oh, that’s why. Bleagh. And what’s that odd shaped swoosh of nasty whiteness on the bottom right?

That’s from a slug. A SLUG. One of the very unfortunate side effects of summer in this here neck of the woods are slugs. They hang out on our front stoop and sometimes make their way up onto our door frame (even typing this is making me nauseous) and one time, onto our door. If you’ve ever tried to clean a slug skid mark before, rest assured that I can sympathize with you. They literally DO NOT COME OFF. Not only are slugs disgusting, the “presence” they leave behind is even worse. Moving on.

We picked up a quart of exterior black paint and a mini roller, and got to work on one sunny afternoon. We made a little “doggie barricade” with some dining room chairs to keep the pooch from messing up the paint job, but we barely had to keep Charlie away since the project was so quick. The one coat of paint we applied dried in about 15 minutes, and we used a hair dryer to dry the edges so we could (almost) close the door to keep any dust/bugs out of the house.

What do you know? 15 minutes of our time gave us a door that looked like a million bucks. Well, maybe closer to 100 bucks, but a door without a slug mark is a gold mine in my book. Just check out the close up now.

Ah, slug free. We got such a kick out of our mini project that we decided to paint all of the doors in our house – that’s three total doors with one quart of $5.00 paint. As my husband would say “well, butter my butt and call me a biscuit”.

Yes, ladies, he does use that phrase on a regular basis. And yes, he’s taken. :)

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Lipstick on a Pig

Also know as “the most boring post ever written”. I’m not really sure why I’m posting this, other than the fact that I hope someone can benefit from this super easy idea to add a little lipstick to a pig (does that saying crack up anyone else?).

I have a little secret to share. We might be selling our house. Keyword being might. We got a wild hair a few weeks back and decided to do some research to see if selling our house was possible and, most of all, beneficial. Since then, we’ve been immersed in meeting with realtors, talking with mortgage brokers and crunching the numbers to see if this venture is something we’d like to dive into or not. The verdict is still out, but I’ll keep you up to date on our (super-huge, very adult-like) decision.

All of that info leads to this post: how we spray painted our outdoor sconces. Luckily for us, our house is almost in show-ready condition, but there are a few things that we wanted/needed to tweak before we could put the ol’abode on the market. Even though we haven’t made the big decision, we decided to get a head start on a few little weekend projects to spruce up our place for any potential buyers.

These were our sconces before. The word you’re looking for is bleagh. Our sconces were old, dirty and just plain sad-looking – the last think you want a potential buyer to see when they first approach your house.

Check out the layer of bug film on the glass and the cobwebs that have imprinted themselves onto the once black finish of our sconces. We decided to save ourselves a few bucks and just spray paint these fixtures with some outdoor spray paint (flat finish) rather than replacing them with something new.

We started by taking off the top of our sconces, and then used a razor blade to score the area where the base of the sconce was attached to the house. After the sconce was able to be removed, we disconnected the power (always remember to turn off the power at your circuit breaker first) and pulled out the glass panels that were screwed into place. We used a steel wool pad to clean both the sconce and the glass, and used a little elbow grease to get everything as clean as we could. Two coats of spray paint later, and we ended up with this:

Looks brand new, no? We were shocked at how much of a difference a new coat of paint (and clean glass) made the front of our house pop. We added some clear caulk around the fixture once it was back in place, which was just the icing on the cake.

We took our standard sconces from drab to fab in a little under an hour for only five dollars – why hadn’t we done this before? We have a few other little projects on our list that we’ll tackle whether we decide to put our house on the market or not. Any little afternoon projects like this that you’d like to share?

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A Wreath and some Wild Animals

This Christmas season, I decided to forgo the handmade wreath from our local Christmas tree lot (which I still love, btw) and decided to put my crafting hat on. It’s not very often that I have the time to whip up a little crafty goodness, so I worked on this wreath while doing laundry and making vegetable soup. Just call me Suzy Multitasker.

My sweet and (verging on too small) little wreath was so easy to make – a bag of lima beans, my hot glue gun and a dash of patience. I won’t even bother to give a full tutorial, since All Things Thrifty did such a good job for me (I found this link through Aubrey & Lindsay’s Blog). I will say two things about this wreath, though. 1) the 12″ size is a bit too small for me, but I couldn’t find a larger wreath form, and 2) I really think I need to spray paint this white to protect it from the elements and to give it a more uniform look. Seeing as it’s been hanging for a week and that has yet to happen, I think my wreath may be a one season player.

In other holiday decor news, I’d like to share a few little friends I have around the house this season. Every year for work, we have an ornament exchange and there was unintentionally an animal theme this year. Somehow, my house seems to have jumped on that bandwagon as well. Every year I find a fabulous ornament for the exchange, but hesitate to buy a second one for myself. I bought this adorable octopus last year and it pained me to see it going home with someone else. Fast forward 12 months, and I found the same ornament at Paper Source this week – for 30% off! It’s a Christmas miracle, folks.

And this was my ornament I yoinked from a coworker at this year’s exchange. I’m a ruthless Dirty Santa player.

I decided to gussy up the other animals in our house (dog Charlie not pictured – but he does look quite fetching in his Christmas bandana) with some simple red ribbon. Red ribbon around anything instantly makes it Christmas-y. Or at least that’s what I’m telling myself.

Happy Holiday decorating, everyone!

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