Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Shadow Boxin'

Hello everyone. So sorry for the long delay between posts. The tryptophan got to me and with 2 Turkey Days celebrated, I OD'ed a little! I hope everyone enjoyed the mirth and merriment. Things have been fairly quiet here at Casa de Farias. Christmas decor is being broken out this upcoming weekend and I CANNOT WAIT. This year we are getting 2 trees 'cuz Mama said so! I want a traditional tree to decorate in the house, but I also want a tree done in silver and white for our farmer's porch. So this weekend we will bundle up the kids, get a few cups of hot chocho and march out in to the woods at Magnusson Farm to cut down our own trees. (Secretly I am looking at the end of this season to invest in some fake trees. As each year passes I am feeling more and more sad about how wasteful it feels to cut down a living tree for a few weeks. Maybe we will do a fake tree next year and just a whole lot of evergreen scented candles? )

Anywho, I finally got around to decorating the shadow boxes I had and let me just say....me likey! If you remember, I had posted some shots of ones that inspired me. This one in particular was catching me eye.

And this one.....

So I printed out some moorish tile printed paper and broke out some costume jewelry from many moons ago and got crackin'. With just some push pins I was able to secure both the paper and the jewelry in the boxes. I also thought it looked a little more graphic with different styles of the printed paper. So in one I expanded the tile print in my Paint program in my computer.

I just kept within a certain design. In this case, I used all jewelry that was gold and coral. The center box is just a beaded necklace twirled around a gold and coral antique broach. The best part is that I can easily change this out as it is just pins holding it all together.

I am still highly motivated to attempt the boxes with the crayon initials for the boys rooms. That may require a trip to the store for extra crayons!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Accessories....A Room's Best Friend

I am such an accessories fiend. It is getting ridiculous. I have three storage totes in the basement with various glass vases, candles, picture frames blah blah blah. Every time I even open my mouth about how I NEED some little trinket or accent I can almost hear the rattle of my husband's eyes as they roll. Small accessories and accents can really add that extra pow to a room and they truly can be added in a budget friendly way. Besides the obvious places like Clearance and Sale tabs on your favorite websites, rummage sales, indoor flea markets (especially important in these chilly New England dimly lit days of late) and yard sales are great stops in your quest! The following are some inexpensive adds that I have in my home as well as some that are truly fabulous (and may make their way into my home...hehe).

Vintage keys seem to be popping up in design lately and I can totally tell why! I love the metal accent it adds to a room and they are perfect to create a grouping either on a wall or in a decorative glass bowl. The ones featured here are a STEAL through Pottery Barn. Less than $20 and free shipping....yes, please!

Some other steals from Pottery Barn can be found here and here. Anything that reflects light or adds some sparkle is a HUGE asset to any space regardless of the size of the object.

These are antique wool spools I found at an outdoor antique fair. At $3.00 a spool, I couldn't go wrong. I love the chippy blue paint that was original to each spool. (FYI..PB offers these for $129...bonus for me.) I have them grouped in our built in media center. They would also look darling displayed on a coffee table or a book case. I could even see a chunky pillar candle propped on the standing one.

This is THE piece in our living room. I found it at a local barn sale, pushed under a table with some baskets being stored in it. The seller had no idea what it had been used for. She thought perhaps a planter since it is basically a wood box with handles. The scrolled iron work is aged and has the slightest yellow patina to it. I can only imagine how many people probably walked right past this wondering what the heck it was. I fell in love with the design and knew I would find a place for it. This score was only $20.

My husband is hugely talented and he actually designed and constructed the built in in our living room. He is currently completing the bottom cabinetry for it, but during the design phase we got our heads together to see how we could incorporate this piece.

So by scattering these various inexpensive objects in the built in, I was able to achieve a high end look!

Another steal at a flea market....

This lamp was tossed in a card board box with items for $5. It still worked, but was a bit loose and wobbly. By simply tightening up the top with a screwdriver and getting a new lamp shade, the piece stands out on our drop leaf table. Isn't the patina gorgeous on it? I can smell hor d'oevres laid out on it at a holiday party this December as we speak.....

The Crate and Barrel outlet has some amazing deals. (Remember they mark down on Mondays.) This beautiful wire fruit bowl was under $10.

And lastly you can never go wrong with some really beautiful plants. I love succulents and tropicals. Easy maintenance and they can be moved on to your patio or deck for the summer time. Plus what is cooler than fresh lemons that you pull off your very own tree in your kitchen!

With the gift giving season fast approaching, an accessory for a room is a no fail option. Who wouldn't love to get something like these? (And who says you can't make the purch for yourself?)


I have finally found time to start wrapping up our dining table makeover and I cannot lie....I am head over heels about it. Considering the way it all sort of came together on it's own, I think this may be the best score ever....both on price and style. Flash back a few Sundays ago and a small road trip and we found ourselves one Kipling dining table and 8 antique chairs richer!

Through the power of Craigslist, I met a woman who was emptying out her barn. I had been drooling a bit over the idea of a farm table with mismatched chairs. Lots of sanding and repairs and the look is complete.

The before shots.......

Drum roll please....and the after!

Now I am on the hunt for a different light fixture. I need something that has some farmhouse flair. Something a little rustic. Can you hear my fingers clacking away on the keyboard? The hunt begins......

Friday, November 19, 2010

Wreath 101

Do I have a thrifty, little crafting delight for you!! I was looking at some different ideas for a decorative wreath for our front door. I wanted something that had a lot of pow to it considering our door is apple red in color. I think a wreath of pine cones may just get lost on it. You would never be able to see it from the road and really that is sort of the point of putting any decoration on the exterior of the house!

I stumbled on a few GREAT sites, but this one blew me away.  I love all the different looks here. What neat, inexpensive lil' gems!

To get started I pulled out my supplies. After realizing that I did not have a styrofoam wreath lying around.....I...um...er...improvised.

Yes....yes that is a pizza box. I figured no one can say this project isn't "green", right?

To begin, find an old magazine (buh bye Salma) and rip full sheets of paper out of it. For the scale I was going for, I cut these pieces in half. Next I prepared the base by simply cutting out my desired wreath shape from the pizza box. I went with a medium sized circle.

Two key points to make here. Fold the paper however you like. An accordion, a hand roll....you name it.

Place little dabs of glue in each fold to hold this shape. Secondly, flip your wreath over and apply one layer of these folded pieces to the outer circle of the wreath. This will give a little extra fluff when you start applying the bulk of your paper pieces to the front of the wreath.

From here on out just work in layers and add as many pieces as needed to create your desired shape and look.

To hang it on the door itself, I used a little grosgrain ribbon in a loop. Hang it from a wreath hook anddddddd.......

Love!! And considering I used things I already have, this could not have been more economically conservative! Happy crafting people!!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Bringing the Outdoors In

I have fawned over these candles from Pottery Barn many a time my friends....many a time. Yet how could anyone ever justify spending $69 on something that will burn and literally disappear before your eyes.

In the quest to replicate this look, I checked out our local craft store and found that there is an actual line of products made from real tree bark. It comes in sheets similar to paper and is extremely inexpensive. Most sheets ranged from $1.29 - $1.99. They had such a variety too! I grabbed a couple sheets and broke out my handy glue gun!

In order to err on the side of safety, I recommend adhering the wood to the exterior of a glass holder and then placing the pillar in it. You could even glue the bark in a sleeve so that you could easily slide it off or replace the holder.

For now, I am using these in our master bedroom in a hollowed out piece of wood. I grounded the grouping in wheat berries which I happened to have in the pantry. I also like the look of brown rice as a base for candles. In an earlier post, I even used candy corn in a hurricane candle holder for my Halloween decor!!

Such an easy project! I ended up with some natural colored wood finishes, but I plan on going back for some white birch when I bust out the Christmas decorations!!

Holiday Gift Giving Ideas

In the spirit of the impending holiday gift giving time, I have been mulling over some ideas for home made gifts for a few grabs and swaps I am taking part in. I just HAD to share these clip art templates from Martha Stewart. So many great ideas for little gifts. From the gift itself to the wrapping and tagging, there are ideas for everything. I am especially digging the doily lid top covers and the monogrammed stickers. I am already scheming up some gift ideas!

"Colorful" Ideas

I seem to be recently obsessed with shadow boxes and I have been scouring magazines to get some ideas that are a little off the beaten path. And did I find some serious winners. Exhibit A:

How absurdly cute are these? What a neat way to personalize each kids room!

I have also been on the lookout for a more....er.....sophisticated look for the master bedroom. I think at times shadow boxes can easily become littered with tchotchke (yes people, that is how you spell it...I may have looked it up..hehe) and lose a more refined look. I am really loving the looks with tiled backgrounds a la....

And how gawjus is this? I love the use of the little tea cup hooks to hold the jewelry.

I am off to see if I have the chops to complete a look like this!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Mini Projects

There are so many little touches that can add greatly to the impact of a room. The best rooms are ones that entirely reflect the energy of a person or family. Spaces should feel layered, as if collected and pieced together over time (even if that is not the case!). The smaller additions often tell the best stories and can become instant conversation pieces. Here are a few of my favorite "mini projects", as well as some accessories that were a steal (and pack a punch).

I love fabric! Besides the obvious uses (pillows, curtains, upholstery) it can be used as a piece of art. Whether it's framed or stretched across a canvas, used as a liner for a tray, wrapped around a lamp shade or adhered to the wall like wallpaper, fabric can be utilized to create layers in a room. Plus, it won't break the bank so feel free to get a little crazy if you find a print you truly adore. In small doses, even high end fabrics can be used on the cheap. In this project, I had three fabric samples that I was struggling with. They were too small to create pillows and they carried a lot of the same colors as the wall paint in our home. I decided on creating wall hangings with them by making three square frames and stretching the fabric across them.

The frames were made out of pine scraps leftover from another project. If you do not have access to a table saw to strip down pieces, simply go to your local home improvement store and have them cut down pieces. You will simply need to know what lengths you want the sides of your square. The frame can be secured using small nails or even wood glue. They will not be supporting a lot of weight so glue totally flies in this project! Using a stapler, I secured the fabric along the backside of the frame. When doing the corners, remember that you are only going to see the front, so fold the fabric so that it is pleasing to the eye. Then get crazy stapling!

Now to pop these frames off the wall......BLING IT UP!! Simple decorative upholstery tacks add a little sparkle and help to reflect some light from the border. These can be found at any hardware store. I picked these up at Lowe's for $1.29! They come in many finishes......as you will soon see! Plus, these can be used in a bunch of different places: around the edge of a table, the border of a lamp shade, around a picture frame, along the corners of a shelf. The list here is endless!

In another room, I used a similar idea with a completely different look. In our study, I mounted an old, used coffee bag I found at an antique shop in the same manner. I went with brass upholstery nails to vibe more with the colors in the burlap bag as well as the room itself.

Another simple project......

I found some inexpensive mirrors (large: $6.00, medium: $3.00) at a barn sale. Add to that a small, ornate frame and a can of semi-gloss spray paint.......

And I have an interesting grouping that bounces light into the dining area! Maybe you have a mirror or some old frames that are going unused in your basement or attic? A unifying color can instantly create a cohesive look!

Lastly, twine is one of my all time favorite materials to work with. In these two projects, all that is required is a glue gun and any object ( vase, frame, mirror) that you would like to add a little texture to!

Here I simply grabbed leftover vases that I was not using. To start, drop a little bit of glue along the base of the vase. Adhere the end of the twine piece and let cool before starting to wrap. Once the twine has adhered, start wrapping the vase with the twine and end wherever is pleasing to your eye.

Or use styrofoam balls to create some texture. These can be grouped with balls of other sizes in a decorative bowl or wide mouthed glass vase too!

I hope these mini projects have given you some ideas! Sometimes all you need is a little inspiration!
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