Friday, May 20, 2011

Fabric is Fabric...

This is a tip worth remembering. In our attempt to reuse, recycle, and re-invent we need not overlook and important little rule that "Fabric is Fabric." Curtains can be made from sheets, a table runner out of a piece of burlap, a throw from a table runner, and in this case a pillow from an old shirt. This project holds particular sentimental value because it was for my grand-ma-ma. After my great aunt Lucille died (my grandma's sister in law) about a year ago, I was given some of her old clothes, which had a lot of character.  We were also in the middle of my grandma's kitchen renovation. We thought that some pillows on her bench would look nice when I remembered Lucille's robin-egg blue sweater with pearly buttons, and a pillow was born, complete with rosettes and pearl button details. It is not only nice to look at, but provides a bit of history and a piece of a loved one.

Grandma's Hutch

In an earlier post, I was telling you about my grandma's kitchen make over. This is a picture of her hutch before I got a hold of it. We wanted to lighten everything up a bit. The fronts of the cupboards below aren't even wood, their like a plastic facade, not that that matters to me, it had character, somewhere.

Here is after long hours in my garage. It's a nice Ivory color with a walnut colored-brown in the recessed areas. Really liked how it turned out. I also put it up on some bun feet to make it feel more substantial and also because looks more polished that way, like the way you feel when you wear heels instead of flats. Then we went accessory shopping around grandma's house, she has nice robin-egg blue books and pottery pieces. Here she is:

Closeup of the distressing:

Mindy's house... (Book Nook)

Here is a fun little project. The house that my friend mindy just moved into had an abandoned little spot in the hall where a washer and dryer used to live. The kids were using it as a little play spot, so we decided to run with it. There is still a row of cabinets above the space and everyone can always use more storage space, so those will stay. We thought a simple little awning attached to the underside of the cabinets and then to a tab in the fabric and a tension rod would really define the space as a new "Book Nook" reading spot. Scalloped edges on the awning are kinda cute, like a little street boutique. Her existing bookcase would be painted a candy-apple green the same color as the stripe in the awning. Throw pillows in our color scheme will complete the look and provide lots of comfy seats for the little ones. We'll catch you up on the project in a future post.

Mindy's house...(office)

My good friend, Mindy, just moved into a new home and is looking for some inexpensive ideas to help make her house a home. The office space is a pretty small room off of the front living room, I don't know that there would be room to move an actual desk in there. There is a tall built-in cupboard that would be nice to repaint either a nice cream/white or go dark with a stain, depending on the mood of the room. I would like to custom build a table/desk attached to the cupboard to complete the built-in look. Also, tall spindle legs that allow you to see more floor space will make the room appear larger.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

My little Sweetie's Room...

I thought that I would finally get back to posting again. I have been meaning to share some pictures of my little girl's room. I love how fresh and dreamy that it turned out. At first I wasn't sure about painting a room yellow, but I truly love this color. It is Ace Sensations (with the Scotchgard) in "Hepplewhite Ivory." Sometimes I walk by her room and think that someone has left the light on---it seems so sunny in there. The bedroom set belonged to a friend of ours, they gave it to us when they moved. It is a beautiful bed with a trundle, a dresser with vanity mirror and nightstand. I love it! It pays to have friends. So the bedroom furniture was completely FREE! Other items were collected around me or my grandma's house. The antique window over her bed was taken out of my Great-Grandmother's house. It is so fun to have little pieces of history, especially my personal history, in my own home. My favorite is the $9 window box outside of the window that is overflowing with flowers---I get to enjoy them outside and catch glimpses of them from the inside.

I used an old-school overhead projector to transfer the sayings and flowers to my walls. It was so easy to use a Sharpie Paint Pen (available at craft stores) to "write" on the walls. The room also has five little birds like the one on the word "Talents" hidden around the room. Sometimes it's fun to let Sweetie's friends try to find them all.

 Every little girl loves to collect jewelry and pretty things. I found an ugly music/jewelry box at a local thrift store for $4 and painted it a cream color and sanded edges to show the dark natural wood underneath. It a very cute little piece. It has a lot more character than anyone could know---it's nice to be able to give something old a new home.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Wanna Tour?

I decided it was pretty rude of me not to invite you in to see my home yet. I know that not everyone will like it, but I like it and I guess that's all that matters----but I hope you like it too! The best part is that I took these pictures when each room was clean and nice. If you could see the house right now, you would see me still in my pj's, a box of cereal spilled on the counter and a pile of laundry on my couch----Thank heavens for photography. I don't know if I'll get through the whole tour, but there's always tomorrow.

I have since decorated for Halloween/Fall, so I will post those shortly. When we got the house, I was always concerned about what I would do with that weird space to the left of my door---I always wanted one of those homes with a symmetrical entry for matching topiaries or trees or something---but we do the best with what we have and I actually like the fact that it was challenging to think of what to do in this space. Also, it was cheap---I have the breakdown below.

And Here's the Breakdown:

Let's talk details. The rocking chair cost me $7 at a garage sale---if you hang out on this blog long enough, you will learn that like 90% of my home decor comes from yard sales and thrift stores---amazing what people get rid of. Anyways, the chair was an ugly gray color with a granny padded seat. I got rid of that and spray painted it black and sanded the edges off. There will be more about this transformation in another post. The plant stand was 3 bucks at the D.I. (area thrift store), and when you have flowers like the ones coming out of this pot, the planter doesn't have to look that great because you don't even see it.

The pillows were made of an old canvas drop cloth and then I stenciled "welcome" on some old burlap that I had laying around. The "Welcome" design and tutorial will be listed on another post as well---or maybe I'll just do it now. Here is the the artwork for the welcome sign. I ask that you only use it for personal use and be sure to link back to this site.

My two favorite pieces on the front porch is my plant shelf and my iron welcome mat. The shelf came from a yard sale for $10 and it looks so good right now with little mini pumpkins and mums. The mat came from the D.I. for another $10---and after going through several other front mats that get worn out or are constantly moved by my little ones, this heavy wrought iron grate/mat is so nice and beautiful to boot, this may be one of the best 10 bills I've ever spent.

I also have a lovely bronze planter that holds a great fountain grass. It was actually plastic terra cotta, but I loved the size and shape of it. So I started by painted the pot with a gold spray paint and then rubbing the "Old Master's Dark Walnut Gel" all over it and I love it. It looks like an old metal/bronze pot and It has held up really well---impressed! So this is my front porch, welcome, welcome.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Why I Believe in Thrifty Decorating...

I was reminded the other day why I don't spend a lot of money when it comes to decorating when this happened. I was actually about to take a "before" shot of this arrangement the day previous and because I got busy, it didn't happen. Oh, the carnage! This incident was care of my little Tom-Tom---thank goodness he isn't in this pile too. And here is the damages:

                -one large window frame
                -1 medium size apothecary jar
                -1 small apothecary jar
                -1 large cream platter (my absolute favorite)
                -1 candle warming lamp w/ candle

Luckily, my child survived and I was not out a whole lot of cash. Now look at the damages:

                           -one large window frame $0
              (my dad made this for me out of mdf--i glued it back together)

                           -1 medium size apothecary jar $7.50
                     (Clearance at Real Deals + coupon)

                           -1 small apothecary jar $4.50
                     (Clearance at Real Deals + coupon)

                           -1 large cream platter $0
(this was the sadest loss, it came from my sis-in-law who didn't know what to do with this fancy wedding present---I DID!)I'm still trying to look for another one like it--I loved it so much, it's almost like a piece of me is gone.

                           -1 candle warming lamp w/ candle $0
(my mom was getting rid of this, I liked it, but it was a blessing in disguise---now I have an excuse to look for a new/used one)

                                    TOTAL LOSS: $12

What made me feel better after something like this was knowing that I wasn't out a whole lot of money---I'll just have to be patient to replace the items or try something new in this spot. I chose decorating for a hobby, but I also chose to have kids---two things that would not seem to mix, but I think it can be done. 

First of all, with children in the house, things will get scratched, dinged, and dented----so why not buy them that way to begin with. I always like to check the clearance sections of home decor and furniture stores first, and you will likely pay a lot less for the item than it's "perfect" counterpart. If I find a used or imperfect item that I love that has been broken in already, chances are I will still like it (and not freak out) when it gets a scratch or ding. Buying pre-dinged make me a better mother, I can't imagine what I'd be like if i didn't dare let the kids sit on a piece of furniture or enter a certain room because it's contents were too expensive for children. The leather sofa in my living room, I had my eye on for months, but was discouraged at the price. I stopped by the store whenever I could, and one day my sofa (with a scuff on the side you don't see, was discounted 60%---WOO HOO!

Secondly, I have better things to spend my money on, like diapers for my 2.5 year old that is still not potty trained or my mortgage or to put food on the table---stuff like that. Everything we own takes a little bit of us---we have to clean it, dust it, move it, pay for it. I don't really want to give more of me to something than it's worth---if that makes sense ( I got a little deep there for a minute).

Lastly, I get bored easily. I think it's Decorating ADD (please don't be offended if you really have ADD). I like to change things up more often than not---and I don't want to break the bank to do it. So like the pioneers say:

Fix it up, Wear it out, make it do, or do without.

I think that they meant to put something about spray-paint, too, but they were probably too busy .

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Furniture Feature...

Hey, I thought that I would share a dresser makeover. First, meet my sister, Tennille.

(She's the one in the middle). I love her  (a) because she's my sister, and (b) because I'm pretty sure she's the only one that follows my blog. However, we had one of our only "disagreements" within our lifetimes this past saturday over this:

An old dresser that was from a great-uncle's house. She wanted it, I wanted it, she won. Probably because she's older, and she had a place for it. So I thought I'd share what Tennille did to the dresser, isn't it be-a-u-tiful!

Painted it cream, with distressing and spray painted the hardware with an oil-rubbed bronze.

My Grandma and the Before's

So here is my super cute grandma that I talked about in my last post. She is 86 years young---seriously, she makes me look bad, she out walked me the other day (she walks miles every single day). Her kitchen is in need of some help, and I love to help my gramma. Oh, and I don't know where my eyes went in this picture---kinda squinty. This is on our birthday last year---yeah, my grandma and I have the same birthday---we're like twins (only 56 years apart).

And here is my grandma's kitchen before shots. To see the list of improvements we will be making, see the post below this one.

I love this hutch, it's not even real wood---it's like a plastic from the 80's, but it's still going to look fantastic painted cream with a walnut brown gel stain---I'm getting chills just thinking about it. More to come on this makeover.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Upcoming Project...

The best kind of projects are the kinds for grandmas----because we love them. Here is my grandma, isn't she the cutest thing. My grandpa passed away about a year and a half ago, so we try to help grandma out when she needs something. Right now, she wants to remodel her kitchen, on a budget. We want it to look like a million bucks, for about $25---seriously.  I think that I'm starting to realize where my "save-a-buck, look-like-a-million-bucks" genetics came from. This is a project that will be in the works over the next month or so. Every good room has to start with a good design---a plan. Here is the budget kitchen facelift:

Right now the cabinets are oak, like most houses built or remodeled in the 90's. The plan is to glaze them, and then shine the cabinets up with something called banana oil---to look new again. The biggest cost will be new laminate counter tops with brown and tan and cream with a glossy finish. Right now it is an oak butcher-block type laminate, so everything is oak, it needs some contrast and some points of interest. Then, we will add wainscott, a tile backsplash (leftover from my sister and I's houses), add lots of crown moldings to the furdown above the cabinets and around the lighting fixture that is going to stay, and I am going to paint the hutch in the corner a pretty cream, with (you guessed it, a glaze). The walls are going to be a lighter brown that we pull from the countertops. I am looking for two stools on craigslist to replace the old ones that she has now. When I take pictures again, I will post the "before" of her kitchen.

New/Old Entry Table....

Let's start with a before shot:

There's not really anything wrong with this table, but it wasn't working for me. The rest of the furnishings in my living room are a very fancy-traditional. I have a large hutch with nice dentil/crown trim and sits up and nice bun feet and the coffee table has a lot character with a lot of detail and and claw feet, so I've been looking for something to complement them and this table was not making the cut. Then I found this little old dresser on craiglist, that was in need of a little love and attention:

She was battered and bruised, used and abused. I would have loved to paint her a lovely cream then distress it with a walnut colored brown, but it looked like she had had enough distress in her life. And I feel like a black table would relate better in my living room. So I started by sanding the rough spots and removing the handles (some of which refused to be removed) and coating it with a few coats of Krylon Primer Spray Paint (I'm all for simplifying my life with spray paint, no sense in breaking out the brushes and supplies). Here is a shot of the primed drawer front:

Sometimes the primer can leave a rough texture, so after it is primed, I go over it with a finer grit sandpaper (not too rough, because you don't want to undo what you've just done). Next, comes the fun part. I love to see the color go on. I chose a gloss black. I like to do several light coats, to avoid runs. Whenever I get a second during the day, I just run out to my (well-ventilated) garage and spray away. I also love glazing things. I've discovered that my favorite product is something called "Old Masters Gel Stain" in dark Walnut. You can find it at paint specialty stores, and a can will last you forever. Here is what it looks like:

I have tried other gel stains, but this one is my favorite, because it seems to be pretty forgiving---letting you rub it into grooves and work with it for a minute, and then come back and wipe some off. It needs to cure for a day or two after you are finished. I have rubbed it directly onto plastic flower pots, or metal lamp bases and it works wonders----love it! I'll have to show pics of some of those things. Back to the dresser/entry table. Most people wouldn't glaze a piece of black furniture, but I think that beauty is in the details, so I did a Walnut gel stain over black, even on the hardware to give it some continuity. I think it makes it look old and warm, like it's been painted over and over. Here it is:

My camera doesn't do it justice, she's beautiful again, now I just need to rethink the arrangement on the top of the table. I welcome ideas. Here is a shot of the detail on the handle and drawer:

Oh, I so need a Nikon D5000, if anyone has one laying around.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Mi gusta Decorating mucho!

My hubby, aka Josh, loves to make fun of my spanish abilities or disabilities frequently, but I don't let that stop me. For those of you who don't "habla espaniol" I was merely saying that I love decorating mucho! I have a background in graphic arts, but I have found that my love for design and such spills over into a all other aspects of my life. I do not profess to be a great decorating, but I do know that I enjoy it alot. I think it's a great creative outlet----to be able to personalize a home, so that people feel like they know something about you just by walking in your door. I love to walk into a room that feels warm and comfortable and clean. I love to explore all of the possibilities that a room has to offer. I love the fact that there is no "right answer" in decorating, there could be several thousands of solutions to a problem (this is most likely why I've always stunk at math and pursed an art degree to avoid it). To me, there is nothing better than curling up with some paper and my sharpie fine point marker and just dream!

So Many Options....
Here is some options that my friend and I were discussing. She has a little black console table she would like to put in her dining room. She also has some existing artwork in nice black frames, oh, and a nice tall ceiling---so we've got some space to cover. If anyone has ideas, we welcome them, or comment on your favorite.

Option No. 1
Large framed existing piece of artwork with matching buffet lamps to widen the
size of the art.  Topped with a quote, iron piece, or ribbon on hook for hanging.

Option No. 2
Twin framed pictures topped with a shelf made from iron plant hangers,
and a slab of distressed wood. Monogramed cream-colored pieces of
China line the shelf.
Option No. 3
Four framed or not pieces of artwork. I'm thinking some botanical prints
with the scientific names or something. A vinyl or painted quote above them
would help heighten the group.

Welcome to my House/Blog

Welcome, Welcome...

Well, this has certainly been a long time coming. I have been wanting to jump on the blogging bandwagon for years now, but, like all other aspects of my life---it takes a little bit. Anyways, welcome to "362 Salem Avenue," though this is not where we currently reside, that address has a lot of meaning for us. It  marked the beginnings of our family and my love for "Home." It was a little rundown house that my husband and I bought about a year after we were married. 362 Salem Avenue was the saddest spot on the block (complete with a toilet in the front yard and a pink fence). I will have to dig up a few of those picks to make you all more grateful for what you have---I don't know what we were thinking, we were young and reckless. We learned alot about seeing the potential in things. Ugly as it was, I still have the fondest of memories for that place. Well, welcome, welcome, to my home for sharing all things decorating, and design, and just whatever I feel like posting. Thanks for stopping by.