Sunday, October 31, 2010

Big Boy Redo Etc Etc

As mentioned in the previous post, I have been really itching to change up my oldest son's bedroom decor to reflect his maturing taste. I mean he is now 18 hemmmmmmm. Often times it's the littlest things that can be changed out of a room to dramatically change the feel of a space. Always consider swapping out curtains or frames or lamps before deciding to go buck wild and paint, change flooring or take a sledgehammer out! (Do I sound like I am speaking from experience....maybe!) So I went ahead and decided to create some subtle changes that would keep it affordable and that I wouldn't cry over when inevitably he decides he wants something different. In my first post about his room, I covered a drum shade we had in our basement storage with some sale bin fabric!

Next I decided his dresser needed a little pizazzing. Let's get real for a no point does my son think anything of these changes. He was just as pizazzed before as he is now! I couldn't help myself though. We had two leftover lamps in our basement from our condo that were just sitting around as they don't have a home here in the new abode. I decided I would paint them with a gloss Valspar red spray paint. Such an easy thing that really makes an impact. To start, I taped off the areas of the lamp that I wanted to protect, namely the top and the cord.

Next, I sprayed an even coat of the red gloss paint. I believe thin light coats are the best way to attack an object. By applying thin coats, you can prevent any clumping or dripping that can occur when coats are too thick.

I typically allow for at least 24 hours drying time, although the can only recommends 4 hrs. Often if you are doing these types of projects in basements or garages, as I do, the temperature and humidity levels vary. These differences can account for differences in drying times. Just some food for thought.

Remember that striped fabric from the drum shade, well I wanted to utilize it again with these lamps. I purchased 2 drum shades at Target for $7.99 each. I will be putting together a detailed post on how to handle covering these types of lamp shades as they are not a perfect drum.

In order to vary them up just a little from the overhanging drum shade, I used the navy grosgrain ribbon to create seams along the shade.

And now for the subtle before and after shots.

Pretty cute change, right? The quote on the wall is from the Dr. Seuss classic "Oh the Places You Will Go". It is from the last page of the book. The cute wall decal was found on etsy.

Anilu Enterprises

She can do custom quotes that don't break the bank. Plus she is really fast with the turn around!

Stay tuned to learn how to cover these drum shades!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Trick or Cheap

Well folks this may be it.....the cheapest and easiest little couch spruce up EVER! I have been struggling with finding new pillows for our couch. Let me backstep.....I have a major pillow in pillow intervention, straight up TLC Hoarder's style. So I was pretty sure of two things: 1.) I needed to recycle pillows we already own. 2.) I needed to buy or make pillow covers that were extremely cheap. Hence the infamous struggle of creating something on the thrifty budget while giving it a polished, luxe look. I am recently inspired by moorish tiles and trellis prints on everything from wall stencils to curtains. Since my eye is already trained to pick these prints out, I happened to notice really cute re-usable grocery totes at the Christmas Tree Shop. At $1.00 a pop, I grabbed a couple in a kelly green trellis print and one in a cute chocolate brown floral. I had every intent of using these puppies as grocery totes. Then as my crazy mind often does, it started cracking with thoughts of the trellis print totes being the print I wanted for the new toss pillows. Long story longer, I got home and whipped out my old Singer sewing machine and a few old throw pillows from our basement storage,

I simply placed the pillow insert into the tote and stitched the open end closed. You could even glue on a velcro closure if you were a little shy with sewing. Once the side was closed up, I snipped off the handles and......

Each pillow took about 2 minutes to make from start to finish so this was easy on the wallet and the clock.. I repeated with the brown floral one as well.

Lastly I had some left over fabric from the Big Boy Redo project and one pillow insert left so I created an additional pillow for the couch.

I love the contrast between the colors and the prints.To create this pillow, I just folded the fabric in half and stitched the two lengths with the sewing machine to create a tote. I then slid the insert in and hand stitched the opening.

 I love that this project cost $3 in totes and about $2 from the leftover fabric. That's $5 for 4 pillows. Yowza! You can find fabric totes everywhere and what a better way to experiment with some different prints! Other ideas for these cheap totes would be to frame them and create a wall display. Imagine each of the prints in a chunky white frame set in a group of 3 in your foyer. Or maybe the prints create a back drop in a shadow box. Bottom line, don't be afraid to re-purpose something that your eye likes!

Big Boy Redo

I have been struggling with how to transition Munchkin Numero Uno into a more "big boy-esque" room. He just doesn't jive anymore with the baby bedding and decor we had rockin' in his nursery. I just wanted to move into something that can grow with him. Since his walls were painted a robin's egg blue, I thought some navy and white accents might work well. So for my first change up, I am attacking the lighting in his room. I wanted something above his bed as an accent piece and something for his dresser. Then the light bulb went off (in my head) and I remembered that we had a drum pendant light in the basement storage and 2 old lamps. The drum was just a basic cream shade so I immediately went to work looking for a fabric to cover it with. Dum da da daaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa I found a great navy/white stripe fabric on sale for $5/yd! I grabbed some matching navy grosgrain ribbon while I was at the store as well. The perfect drum shape made it extremely easy to wrap the fabric around. Armed with my glue gun, I simply applied a light line of fabric glue around the top and bottom rim of the shade. In order to avoid unsightly edges or fray, I folded the edges of the fabric under. In order to keep everything set and lined up, I used some small clamps around the rim. These are essential in this project to help line up the edges and maintain consistency along the crease. I also used paper clips since we have those readily available in our desk!

I realized pretty quickly that the fabric was not wide enough to wrap one continuous piece of fabric around the shade. Since I found this fabric on sale I decided to make it work, but you could just as easily purchase fabric that is wider on the bolt. I got a little 5th grade math geek on it and used the diameter to find the circumference and then just divided in half. I then cut my fabric into two even lengths and glued each piece on.
In order to hide the seams, where the two fabric pieces meet, I applied the grosgrain ribbon.

I love the look of it already and cannot wait to hang it tomorrow. Stay tuned for the matching lamps for his dresser!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Cheap and Easy......Me Likey

I cannot in any way shape or form take credit for this snazzy one. I happened to see this on The Nate Berkus Show earlier this week and what can I say.......I had to try it. I mean it had all the pluses a gal like me adores: inexpensive, easy and chic. It's not often you can slam those three adjectives in a grouping! Needless to say it was all that and more. I have been thinking about a table runner for our dining room table. Something slightly rustic that would perhaps induce thoughts of turkey and the upcoming holiday? Flash forward to me perusing the burlap selection at our local crafts store. I had no idea burlap came in so many shades and it gives me ideas for other holidays/times of year. I went with 2 yards for our table and the total came to just over $5. The rest was simple labor (ok so I sat at the kitchen table and slowly picked at it while sipping some get the point).

By pulling at the end threads, you can create the look you want. Pull a lot of threads or a little, pull from both ends or maybe just the sides. I decided to pull both from the ends and the sides.

Add some fall decor and voila, the table is set!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Quick Fix

I am always game for a quick project, especially one that makes a space neater and can be completed in one nap time! The tv area in our master bedroom has been driving me crazy. I mounted our small tv on the wall and a waterfall of cables flowed down the wall from it. Not only was this unsightly, it didn't bode well with an adventurous toddler in the house. I needed a quick fix. Although I am still on the hunt for a cute book shelf or wall unit to go below the tv, this is a great hold over until the right piece catches my eye. The items I used were already sitting in our basement from previous projects, so the project was free (not really, but it sounds better to my ears).

I simply installed a floating shelf below the tv to house the cable box. The install was a snap because the shelf lined up directly with the wall studs. Bonus. Not to mention totally secure!

The cute sea grass stools below the tv were old ones that I purchased on sale from Pier One years ago. They had some nicks and discrepancies in the sea grass woven pattern. A few coats of high gloss black spray paint and the "blemishes" are gone! Plus these are hollow so all of the extra wire as well as our wireless modem are now housed on the interior of these snazzy little stools.

Lastly I needed something to hide the cables. I found a cover that adheres directly to the wall and snaps open to insert the cable. These types of covers are readily available at any home improvement store. Depending on the length you purchase, you can expect to pay anywhere from $8.00-$20.00. Plus these covers can be painted to match the wall color. Organization makes me feel so much better and knowing this is a cleaner and safer area in our bedroom makes this Mommy one happy gal!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Snap, CRACKLE, Pop

Well my weekend is officially coming to a close and I met my dead line for finishing the dresser I picked up in East Sandwich, MA. And can I just say for the record that I am in LOVE with it. I will admit that the project did have some mishaps, but I learned an immense amount. Most importantly......about PATIENCE.

I started the weekend off with a trip to Lowe's to pick up some supplies, namely Valspar Weathered Crackle Glaze. The large container of it runs at $14.98 and there is more than enough in there to do multiple projects. As a reminder, the object of my crackle dreams was a little vintage dresser I picked up in Cape Cod last weekend. The dresser was already a very cute shade of yellow so I decided to keep it as my secondary paint color (which would show through the crackle effect). To prep the dresser, I sanded the whole thing to provide a rough surface for the glaze to adhere to. Let's pause for a moment to relish in this pre-head ache phase of the project........OK moving on to the lessons learned moment of the post.

Although the directions on the container of glaze provide a basic outline for the application, they are not as thorough as needed to find success with this project. Lesson #1: Always do back research before starting a project. (I found a very nice tutorial on applying crackle after my first round disaster.) I applied the crackle in a fairly thick coat. I waited the recommended 1-4 hrs (more like an hour and 20 minutes) before applying the white semi-gloss paint as my top coat and immediately the white paint started to pool in areas and clump. I tried going over it again, only to make it worse....much worse. Lesson #2: The crackle medium has got to be dried completely before applying the top coat. The glaze was still a little tacky when I started the top coat application. In fact, you should really wait overnight for this to happen as temperature can effect drying time. Moving on to Lesson #3: You MUST use FLAT paint for the top coat. The crackle medium will not adhere to any other paint. Therefore you can see where this is going......because yours truly used semi-gloss.

Flash forward a few hours later when this disaster of clumpy white paint has dried and there I am sanding away like a mad woman. Enter one BRILLIANT husband who introduces me to my new best friend: the power sander. This nifty little device saved me hours of elbow grease and I had the dresser sanded down again in no time. The truth is.....I liked it in this state. It had a really distressed cool look to it, with the sanded down white paint and a little bit of the original cheery yellow popping through. I trudged on though, excited to see the final product. This time around I applied the crackle medium in a heavy coat and then went to bed! I waited until morning to let the glaze dry completely and that was no easy task. I woke up more than once and may have considered wandering down to the basement to see if it was dry.

The next morning I applied a white flat paint top coat with a roller in order to maintain even paint distribution. Side note, you can apply the top coat with a brush as well for a more random effect to the crackle. The crackle effect takes place almost immediately so it is imperative to not retouch an area after the paint has been applied. Again I would recommend waiting overnight to dry.

The next morning found me jumping up and down in my pj's, clutching my husband's arm in sheer delight. It looked exactly how I wanted it to....can you hear the "BUT" about to slip out of my mouth.......BUT there was a little bit of dripping and pooling on the sides off the dresser. Lesson #4: Apply the glaze in sections so that the side you are working on can lie flat. This will prevent the glaze from dripping (as well as the top coat) as it begins to crackle and separate.The dripping was very minor and only required spot sanding and touch up with the flat white paint.

Although I was extremely gung ho to hand paint owls on the pre-existing white knobs (ya I know....coocoocachoo crazy), my eye caught some very chic and VERY inexpensive satin nickel knobs at Lowe's. At $1.04 a knob, I splurged and bought 12.

All in all, I learned a lot from this project. And although it is tempting to crackle every single surface in our home, I am going to follow the directions from the Lowe's Paint Rep, "A little crackle goes a long way." It is exactly the look I wanted for Miles' nursery and I couldn't be happier!

Project Total:
$10 - dresser
$12.48 - knobs
$14.98 (but since I used less than half of the container, let's say $7.49) - Valspar Weathered Crackle Glaze
= $29.97

Friday, October 22, 2010

East Sandwich = Yumminess!

So as mentioned in my very first post, last weekend was spent with some friends at a beach house in East Sandwich. Before departing for our mini vacay, I perused Craigslist (I am officially a stalker on there) to see what may be happening for barn and estate sales down on the Cape. I happened upon a listing that offered the entire contents of a house for sale from 3-4 PM and then from 4-5 PM everything would be free. FREE? No way.....but instantly incited some huge fantasies about vintage buffets and distressed, wrought iron beds. Ok so I embellished a little in my mind! Anyways, turns out that there had been an elderly man who had moved out to assisted living and his family just wanted to liquidate the estate immediately since they live out of town. Now the image in my mind clearly didn't match up when I pulled up to see people running up and down the front steps of this house as if the very items in their arms would turn into dust if they were not rushed to the safety of their car. Ugh! Immediately some items sitting in the driveway caught my eye so we rushed into the house to find that there was literally nothing left. People were in there scavenging remnants of paper towel holders and old hangers out of closets. Seriously. I found the man in charge and asked about the cute yellow vintage dresser in the driveway. He sort of took a deep breath and said that he really wanted some money for that. I was about to remind him that at 4:37 PM it technically had been listed as free, but he then rushed to tell me that it would be at least $10. Suppressing a hysterical giggle from deep within, I agreed to his steep price and had him haul the dresser into the back of my truck! It is going to be perfect in Miles' room! I am going to refinish it this weekend with some crackle glaze to really bring more of an antique vibe to it.

I also picked up a wooden plant stand and a great arm chair for our home office. All in all, we drove home with a truck full of furniture and I was only $18 lighter in the wallet. I am going to sand down the stand and chair and paint them in a matching color (as of yet undecided) to place in our home office. Depending on the motivation level in the next few days, I will post after pics by Sunday!! Here's to a weekend of getting down and dirty with some sandpaper and paint!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Craigslist Love

Today was a major plus of a day with a giant FREE score off of Craigslist. I have been dying to try my hand at an upholstery project. Although I was a little hesitant to rip one of our chairs apart, I have no fear of waging war on someone else's cast off chair! The real problem here is deciding what fabric I want to reupholster this fabulous Queen Anne wingback beaut in. The current sad state is a very worn mauve (shudder) chenille sort of fabric. I am currently obsessed with Ikat fabrics, but I am not willing to spend the money on an experiment. If I were a reupholstering ninja then perhaps I would splurge a little. I have found a very cute jacquard print that at $6.98 a yard is a do-able option for this experiment. I am estimating 7 yards of fabric for this particular chair as well as some additional batting to give the seat a little extra life. Our living room has been calling out for an arm chair to balance out the sectional we just purchased and this may be it.

Bottom line, the "free" section of Craigslist is often a long list of junk, but once in a while you can find some pretty great treasures on there. Check out your local free listing whenever you are starting a new project that requires you to tread in uncharted territories. Some other things to keep your eyes out for in this delicious little secret on Craigslist are old lamps that can be spray painted or wrapped in jute, old clothes to be made into throw pillows to breathe new life into your living room set or perhaps something that can be grouped in bell jars for display like old keys or buttons. You will be amazed at the options and even more amazed at how willing you are to stretch out of your comfort zone and try something new. Like reupholstering! So stay tuned for my play by play adventure with this chair!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Here we goooooooo!

Well here it very first post. I have spent a lot of time thinking about how to create something that could be a resource for ideas and inspiration in home decor for the budget minded. Call it an adventure in my hits, misses and mishaps in DIY. I am addicted to barn sales and anyway to create the look for less. I just spent a weekend in East Sandwich, Cape Cod and made some fantastic finds. Of course, most of what I find is a project in some respect, but I enjoy seeing the hidden potential in a piece. Ahh I am getting ahead of myself (a common issue as you will soon see).

So to take a step back for a moment, my husband and I purchased our first home a few months ago "in the country". Previously we were living in a three level townhouse I purchased a year or so before meeting my husband. Years later, we found ourselves with a 6 mos old son, Braydon, 2 pooches, Lucky and Curly, and a bambino on the way. Needless to say we knew the time was right to upsize, upgrade and "get a piece of the pie" as they say! After four long months, we moved into our brand new home, a colonial with an amazing farmer's porch. Just three weeks after moving in (let's use that term loosely as there are still boxes in the basement) we welcomed our second son, Miles Christopher, to the family. Times are moving fast and furious and I am committed to creating a beautiful home for my family without breaking the bank. I hope you enjoy reading about my projects and adventures in thrifty design!
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