What I've Been Doing

>> 5.29.2016

I've always been a creative vagabond. In school it was band, art and theatre. In college it was music (and still is and always will be - it's my one constant.) Once I had kids, it was photography, and then my recent obsession with interior design. But lately I've revisited my childhood love of art in the form of watercolor.

I started an Instagram page in hopes that it would encourage my ten year old daughter to want to do art more. She's insanely talented and I wish she would want to sit down and draw more often. So I started the Instagram page and started posting stuff she and I both did. But, then it just kind of ended up being me sitting down and painting. And then I just couldn't stop. That's kind of how it is with me.  I latch on to an artistic outlet and it becomes kind of an obsession. And I've embraced that about me. I think. Anyway, here's my Instagram page. And my Etsy shop, because if I'm going to make it, I might as well sell it......right? 

And here's some of my work:


The Rise and Fall of the Gallery Wall

>> 2.02.2016

When we moved into our house almost three years ago, I didn't have very many ideas, but I DID know that I wanted a huge gallery wall in our front living room. I was so pumped about making this gallery wall that I remember working on it even before all the boxes were unpacked.

I was excited to fill it full of meaningful things that represented our family, our religion, and our style. I wanted people to take one look at that wall and know exactly what our family is about.

I collected various sizes of frames and spray painted them white, and then supplemented with a few Ikea frames. Then I arranged them on the floor so I would know which way the frames would be oriented, and then I went about filling them, which was the funnest part of all.

I was totally in love with this gallery wall for a long time, but recently I've felt the urge to change it up. One problem I've come to not like about it is that the pictures are too high up on the wall. Because we have such high ceilings, I centered the pictures on the wall so there was even space on the top and the bottom. But I wish that I would have carried the pictures down further, because I feel like they're disjointed from the furniture. Also, I feel like the small photos (some of them are 4x6) are just too little and make it look cluttered. And many of the pictures were not current and I was doing a horrible job of keeping the wall updated. Plus, I already have two other wall collages in the house, so I can easily move some of the more important prints to one of the other groupings.

So anyway, it was time for a change! I've had my eye on a metal/glass bookcase at Picker's Paradise for a long time, but it was used as a display case, so I never considered getting it. But when thinking about a change in our front room I kept going back to that bookcase. So I finally asked the owners if I could get it. Luckily they agreed and I came home with it!

I also found this great piece of art at At Home (formerly Garden Ridge) on clearance for $35. I love a good deal!

The room still looks so different to me now. I do a double take every time I pass by. I like it, although it's sad to see the gallery wall go. It's definitely a change, but change is good.


Christmas Mantle 2015

>> 12.08.2015

For our mantle this Christmas I decided to go white and gold and a little traditional. 

 I started with the garland. Last year I used real garland for the first time and I'll never go back. This year I bought a pre-made live garland from Home Depot during Black Friday for $7. I'm not a candlestick person usually, but there's something about candles at Christmas. I want to put them everywhere! I got these brass candle sticks at various thrift stores, the tree was a Hobby Lobby purchase from 2014, the Holy Family is from Picker's Paradise, and the gold hurricane is from Ross. 

Down below is a basket and green magazine rack, both from Salvation Army, and the blanket is actually just two yards of fleece from the fabric store. Oh, and the pom pom pillow on the couch is a pair that I got at Salvation Army as well. I've never bought pillows at a thrift store before, but I couldn't pass up pom pom pillows! 

What does your mantle look like this year?


Deck The Bookcase

>> 11.30.2015

Hey Friends! Long time no write! I've decided to slow down the blogging for a while to focus on other things, but of course I can't let the Christmas season go by without blogging about my favorite decorating season on the year! 

This is the first Christmas that we've had the bookcases, so I was really excited to decorate them for Christmas! The bookcases are one of the first things you see when you walk into the house, so I really wanted to make a statement. I thought bright pops of red against the white bookcases and teal walls would do the trick. 

With some things we already owned, as well as a few red pieces from Picker's Paradise and Goodwill, I replaced the blue accents in the bookcases with red and gold. It took a couple of days of tweaking to get it how I wanted, and I'm not super excited about having to change it all back after Christmas, but I LOVE how it turned out. So was it worth it? Yes. Will I do it next year? We'll see. 

Here's a before and after:

The three main areas downstairs are all decorated a little differently for Christmas this year, and I can't wait to show you the other two rooms. 


Music Side Table

>> 10.27.2015

For about six months now I've been handling social media for a local store called Pickers Paradise. The name alone makes you want to go, doesn't it? Pickers is part of a larger business called Reliable Estate Services LLC. They are an estate liquidation company, and when a loved one is dying or has died, they come in and clear out the home and clean it up so that the family can focus on spending their last days with their loved one and/or not have to worry about the home while they are grieving. Picker's Paradise is the store front where they sell all the furniture and household items obtained from the clean-outs they do. It's a really cool place, a lot like a thrift store, but not quite.

Attached to Picker's Paradise is a cool little store called Finders Keepers by Monica.  Monica is an awesome and talented interior designer and her shop is full of beautiful new and vintage items. Her favorite thing is refinishing furniture and she is insanely good at it. In fact, when people come to me wanting me to refinish a piece for them, I refer them to her. I can't handle the pressure of refinishing something for someone, but she is a pro at it.

For the past month now I've also been helping them with pricing and tagging the new merchandise that comes in, which is my own kind of paradise! Since I'm in the store more often I get to see all the new stuff that comes in, and my mind is always working on how I could fix up this piece, or put this with that to make something new. It's a great way to keep my creativity flowing!

A couple of weeks ago this small side table came into the store, and around the same time one of the owners mentioned that they had gotten in a bunch of old piano sheet music. So I decided to put the two together and turn this boring little guy into a fun music table.

All photos in this post courtesy of my lame iPhone camera. 

Monica at Finder's Keepers sells a great brand of chalk paint called Country Chic, so naturally I wanted to use it for this project. With chalk paint, you CAN paint on a wood surface without sanding or priming. But I decided to sand it down so that the paint really had something to hold onto.

After I sanded it was time to paint. I chose a dark gray called Rocky Mountain, which I love! I did two coats of paint, with about a 30 minute dry time between coats.

After the paint was dry I took mod podge and painted a thick layer onto the area where I wanted to put the sheet music. I then laid the music on and coated over the paper with mod podge.

After it was completely dry, I did a layer of polyurethane over the entire piece for durability. And after I took the pictures, I decided to distress the finish a little, which turned out awesome. But since I don't have a picture of that you'll have to go into the store and check it out!

It's for sale at Picker's Paradise for $35. Go check it out and find an inspiration piece for you to work on as well!


Restoring a Cedar Chest - Part 2 and Reveal

>> 10.16.2015

I posted part one of this restoration a month ago and now I'm finally getting around to posting part two! When we left off I had sanded the entire piece down and was waiting on the veneer to be delivered. I also needed to glue down two corners of the top where the veneer had separated from the board underneath.

With some Elmer's wood glue and a thin water color brush I carefully lifted the veneer and put a layer of glue between the particle board and veneer.  I then clamped the corners down and in about an hour the glue was dry enough to remove the clamps. Wood glue is pretty great stuff. So are clamps.

Next I took my two inch veneer strips, cut them to the proper length, and then cut them in half horizontally to make 1" strips . Why I didn't take pictures of these next two steps, I don't know. Maaaaybe because I took the top off its hinges and took it into our very un-photographable master closet to iron on veneer. And you really don't want to see that.

But honestly, I was very nervous about putting on the veneer, but it really was so easy. Follow the directions on the packaging and you're good to go.

Once it was ironed on I took an x-acto knife and trimmed up the parts that were a little wider than the top. This stuff is super easy to cut.

Here's what it looked like after adding the veneer. Don't worry about the color difference. It all evens out in the end.

I had a "make it work" moment however. When inspecting the piece I didn't notice that the edge of veneer on the front top was loose. It was too brittle to try and glue-on, but when I tried to take the entire strip of veneer off completely, it wouldn't budge. Just that one little part. So I removed it and luckily there was a piece of solid wood in front, unlike the sides which was ugly particle board.

So I sanded it down as best I could and hoped that it would blend well when I stained it, and it did. 

I did one final sanding and wipe-down of the piece, and completely cleaned the work area in preparation for staining. Then with a soft rag I rubbed on one coat of Varathane Early American stain. I had to work fast because it was a hot, dry day and the stain dries fast, so I didn't get pics of that process either. Basically I'm bad at remembering to take pictures when I get caught up in a project.

I did get a shot of me applying the poly though! I used this great new stuff called Varathane Triple Thick. I LOVE this stuff. 

Don't you love the heart in the wood grain? It's a happy cedar chest. 

Here's the finished product! 

And a very impressive before and after, if I do say so myself.

I'm not sure we are going to keep it in the master bedroom. Although it's nice to have for storage and it's a really pretty piece, I think it's a little too large for the room. What do you think?


DIY Wood Bud Vases

>> 10.12.2015

I love the simplicity of my fall table, but I recently discovered BloomNation, an online marketplace that supports local florists, and was so inspired by the many interesting and creative flower arrangements on their site that I wanted to find a way to incorporate flowers into my own fall tablescape.

Everyone loves a beautiful flower centerpiece, but when it's time to eat, it just doesn't make sense to keep them on the table. We always move them off so we can see each other when we eat, and... because we have kids. Enough said. So I thought it would be fun to create little individual vases so that we could keep the flowers on the table and enjoy them throughout the meal.

To begin, I bought a $2 furring strip from Lowes and measured and carefully taped every 3.5". I then used a hacksaw and followed the tape lines to make my cuts so that I didn't go wonky. 

I then sanded down the pieces of wood and drilled holes about 2 inches deep. 

 I wanted to paint the bottom of the wood a metallic copper, so to get a clean line, I taped the bottom portion, and then another tape line right above that. I then removed the bottom piece of tape to reveal the area where I wanted to paint, and moved that up to the top of the wood to protect it from overspray.

Next I sprayed two coats of Copper Krylon Foil Metallic Spray Paint and let it dry completely. 

I then bought a bunch of daisy mums and added one or two to each bud vase. 

My kids love these vases, and along with the copper name tags I tied onto our glasses, er, mason jars, it creates a personalized space for every person at the table. 

BloomNation supports local florists by showcasing their unique bouquets in an online marketplace. They are a refreshing change from the standard and sometimes unoriginal selection of your typical flower delivery services. Go check them out!


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