Fall Tablescape

>> 9.28.2015

I've been working on a blog post about fall dining table decor, and I have to tell you, I am NOT good at creating a beautiful table. First of all, we don't have a formal dining room. We are a casual family and although we have dinner together every night, with three little kids, our idea of "fancy" is corian plates, color-your-own placemats, and namecards that my daughter makes. 

Secondly, when we have people over, we HAVE PEOPLE OVER. Never do we all fit at the table, and so it's always a buffet style, "find a seat somewhere or eat outside" affair, and we love it that way. 

So I set out to create a tablescape for fall that was affordable and reflected our simple and casual style. 

This neutral table runner, which I already had, is perfect for decorating for many seasons. I found this one at Homegoods, as well as the plaid napkins. The one thing on the table that I spent real money on was the wood bowl from Target for $20. Let me tell you, I searched a lot of places to find something similar to it that was cheaper, and I came up with nothing, so I forked over the $$ because I loved it that much. I filled it with real mini pumpkins and gourds, and I also added a pitcher with some greenery for a bit of texture and height. 

How do you decorate your table for fall?  


Simple Changes

>> 9.25.2015

Decorating for seasons doesn't have to be elaborate or expensive. It doesn't have to be literal either. So for fall this year, instead of going literal with colorful leaves and pumpkins, I tried to incorporate earthy textures and colors by using baskets, wood, fabric, and interesting greenery and floral stems. I also tried to think outside the box a little and use things I already have, to help save money. Because who wants to spend a lot of money on decorations that you are only going to have displayed for a month or so?

I wanted to change up the highboard a little and I gave hints of fall with a basket of earthy greenery ($5 at Hobby Lobby), a white pumpkin, and more neutral accessories, all of which I pulled from different parts of the house. I also took some leftover fabric from the plaid pillows and covered a cheap dollar store candle holder with it to create a pencil holder.

These simple changes I made don't scream fall, but they FEEL fall, and that makes me happy.

What plans do you have for your fall decor this year? I'd love to hear!


Happy First Day of Fall!

>> 9.23.2015

It's officially the first day of Autumn and today I want to celebrate by showing you a cheap and easy way to bring a little fall color to your home with plaid pillows. 

I'd love to call this a DIY tutorial. Except... I didn't take before pictures, and I didn't even sew the pillows! But I'd love to show you what I've got, and I hope you'll forgive me that I didn't include the process.

 I wanted to add more texture to my Fall decor this year, and what better way to do that than with some yummy plaid wool fabric. I wanted fabric that was unique and vintage, so instead of going the usual route for fabric, I went to the thrift store. I found a men's thick cotton plaid shirt and a lovely wool plaid wrap skirt with fringe, both $7 ea.  

This will give you an idea of what they looked like. 

Since my sewing machine is broken, and my friend Emily is ten times the sewist I will ever be, I had her sew these shirts into two very cool pillow slipcovers. The wrap skirt became a pocket slipcover, and the men's shirt became a button-up slipcover with the pockets still on it. 

Fun, right?

The orange and brown pillow is my favorite, and I think it completes the decor in our front room. The other pillow is going elsewhere, and I can't wait to show you the little touches of fall I've added to the rest of the living areas.

p.s. If you'd like a tutorial on how to make your own men's shirt pillow, check out THIS tutorial from Ann at On Sutton Place.


DIY Plaid Tray and Keeping it Real

>> 9.16.2015

It's only the middle of September and it's still in the mid 90's here in Dallas, but at our house we've already gotten out the mulled cider candles, made pumpkin bread, and decorated our mantle for Fall. I've got the fall itch early this year, so I decided to start decorating now and experiment with some things that are a little out of my comfort zone, like plaid, for example.

I was given an old christmas tray, and my vision was to paint it and add a fall-ish plaid to the bottom. So I searched for craft paper, wrapping paper, ANYTHING paper but came up with nothing that I liked. Apparently fall-like plaid paper is not a thing. So I turned to fabric and found three options that I thought would work.

Two were from the fabric store at about $3 each, and the last was actually a button down shirt that I purchased from a thrift store. And paid $6 for it. In hindsight, I can't believe I paid that much for a thrift store shirt. If I could go back in time, I would have looked at the prices on the shirts, gasped for air, and climbed on top of the cashier's table, gotten on the loud speaker and told the crowd of Monday morning shoppers that we were all being DUPED and that most of these clothes sat in plastic bags in the back of someone's closet for ten years and they were worth PENNIES and we all needed to stick it to the man and boycott all thrift stores until the owners came begging to us and met all of our demands, which in turn would spark a world-wide thrift store revolution where they stopped overcharging for men's shirts, brass figurines and furniture. But no. I bought a $6 shirt from the thrift store. I'm so ashamed. 

But on to the tray!

First I prepped the tray by sanding, painting and priming.  (I hope you didn't need to see that because I didn't take pictures.)

Then I added mod podge to the bottom of the tray and spread it around. I cut the fabric to fit, on the bias so that the plaid laid diagonally, and put it carefully on the tray and then painted mod podge over the top to seal it in.

I then went over it with a metal spatula to smooth out the wrinkles and bubbles.

p.s., Do you notice that the fabric is different in this photo? um, yeah.........

So here's where it gets real. There's two things wrong with using fabric. First, I didn't take into consideration that when you put mod podge on fabric, it darkens the fibers, and it doesn't ever go back, which for some fabric completely changes the desired look you want. Secondly, I cut on the bias, which causes fabric to stretch, which meant that the fabric suddenly became too big for the bottom of the tray, which was kind of a mess. 

The first fabric I started with was a mustardy yellow. I liked it the best out of three options by far, but I was pretty disappointed after I had finished putting on the glue and went back to look a couple hours later and realized the fabric was now brown and not ever going to turn back. Isn't that a crazy difference? Sad moment.

So I ditched the fabric and tried the orange/brown/gray fabric from the $6 shirt. AGAIN, the color was just too saturated after I got the glue on and it dried into a dark gray and almost red color.

So by this time it was midnight and I was a little frustrated because I wanted this to work, and I had already wasted two fabrics and $9 on this ridiculous tray idea. So although the fabric wasn't my favorite, I used my last option, a orange and navy plaid. The fabric still stretched, and it was a mess, but I got it on, and the next day I came back and trimmed it up with an x-acto knife, so it ended up looking okay. Here it is finished and styled. What do you think?

So if you want to tackle this project at home here are a couple of pointers.

1. It's crucial that you prime your piece first. Otherwise the paint will not hold up and could potentially bubble and cause problems.
2. Paper is best.
3. If you want to use fabric, stick with a thin cotton, cotton-blend fabric. Thick, textured and porous materials are not right for this. As you can see what happened with my first fabric.
4. Test the fabric first. Get a small area of it wet to see what it looks like, because that color when wet is likely what it will look like once the mod podge is dry.
5. Don't spend a lot of money on fabric. I should have been able to do this project for almost free.
6. Cut your fabric to size but don't worry about getting it perfect. Once the fabric dry you can clean it up with an x-acto knife if the fabric you are using is thin.

This fabric option is a little safe, and probably a little too preppy for me, but that's okay. I learned a lot of lessons during this DIY and I am okay with a less-than-ideal finished project if I know I've learned something worthwhile in the process.

And if you are still reading this, you are a dedicated soul and I love you.


Restoring a Cedar Chest - Part 1

>> 9.14.2015

I recently bought this cedar chest from a friend of mine. She had purchased it not too long ago with the intention of refinishing it, but she accidentally left it outside one night and it rained and did a real number on it.

You can see how the veneer on the top is warped on the edges, and based on the condition of the finish it looked beyond repair. I even let it sit in my garage for a couple of weeks and I painted something else on top of it because I honestly thought I was going to have to remove that veneer.

One day however, there was a break in the weather and it was bearable enough to be outside, so I got out the sander and started sanding. And guess what I found?

Oh yeah.

Look at that wood! It's veneer, yes, but does that look like something that needs to be replaced? nope. I only need to glue down two of the sides and the top will be in great shape!

And while we're talking about great shape, look what a little sanding (okay, a LOT of sanding) did for the front of the chest!

So step one of this restoration is done. Now that I've got it stripped down to its natural wood, my next step is to repair the top and replace the veneer banding on the sides of the top. As you can see, it's in a bad way.

Yes, that IS particle board you see there. But not for long.

The replacement veneer is being shipped, and once it comes in I will get to working on it and should have an update later this week. Stay tuned!

If you liked this post, check out my "Ground Zero" post about preparing a piece of furniture for refinishing/painting.


September Mantle

>> 9.02.2015

It's been a while since I changed up my mantle, and so when September hit, I decided it was time. And if I was going to change my mantle, I might as well decorate for fall, or at least incorporate some fall-ish colors. It's still in the 90's here in Dallas, and probably will be for the foreseeable future, but I don't care. It's a crisp, chilly autumn day on my mantle.

When October rolls around I'm sure I'll change it up and add some pumpkins and other festive things, but for now, this hint of fall with varying textures and colors is just what I need to get me excited about the coming season.

From left to right, white pitcher-Target, orange flowers- Michaels, Threshold gold ball-Target circa 2014, Apothecary jar-thrifted, candle holder-Ross, brass container-vintage, fall oil painting-vintage, milkglass bowl-vintage, plant - Ikea


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