Friday, December 2, 2011

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas

All of you probably know by now how much I love fireplaces.  But to my dismay, we don’t have one in our house.  Last year, I bought an old fireplace mantel off of Craigslist, so I could at least pretend to have one.  I even put a chalkboard behind it and drew a fake flame on it to create ambiance. 

It helped, but it really wasn’t enough for me.  So when Tim asked me what I wanted for Christmas this year, I told him I wanted a real fake fireplace and that I wanted it before Christmas so I could actually enjoy it all season long.  
On Black Friday, we ordered an electric fireplace.  It arrived earlier this week and I loooove it.  The flame is fake, but it looks very real.  It also has a heater, so it warms up the room just like a real fireplace would.  I have used it practically non-stop since it arrived.  Tim even turns it on for me before he leaves for work in the mornings so our living room is warm and cozy when I get up.  I’m watching the flames jump and flicker now as I write this blog.  It makes me happy. 

Did you notice that Frosty is back again this year?  I’m not sure if it was the heat from the fireplace or what, but sadly we had to amputate his legs last night because they had started leaking and rotting all over our hardwood floor.  We fondly refer to him as Stumpy now.  Isn’t he cute?!

Since we’re on the topic of Christmas decorations, I’ll just go ahead and give you the grand tour. 
This year, I mixed turquoise in with my Christmas color scheme.  I like the color too much right now to pack away all my regular turquoise decorations for Christmas.   I’m really liking how it looks with the red.  It’s a little bit merry and a little bit bright. 

There was a blank spot on my wall that needed a touch of Christmas.  I really didn’t want to spend any extra money for something, so I got creative.  I sawed branches off a tree, cut them up, spray painted them white, tied them together with twine, and stuck a sweet gum ball on the top.    And Ta-Da!

I think using found things from nature is a great (and affordable!) way to decorate.  It’s also kind of Pottery Barnish.
Free tree clippings from the tree farm.

More tree clippings tied together to make garland, as well as pinecones, and acorns put in old bottles.

Wood and tree clippings stuffed in an old bucket.

I guess that’s about it, or at least that’s about all I’ve taken pictures of around here.  Our tree is up, but we haven’t decorated it yet.  Hopefully, we’ll get to that this weekend.  

Monday, November 7, 2011

DIY Chunky Distressed Coffee Table

You gotta love Pinterest.  Recently, while perusing around Pinterest land, looking for coffee table inspiration, I came across this guy.image


It’s made from old pallets.  And you know me and my love for furniture made out of pallets.  I drool.  The great thing about Pinterest is that when you click on any pinned item you get a pop up window with the item’s original link.  So, I followed the link on over to InspireMeHeather

The inspiration for her pallet coffee table was this coffee table in Western Living.


Upon seeing these pictures, I fell in love.  So much so, that I persuaded Tim to sit down with me Friday night and draw up plans for our very own pallet inspired chunky distressed coffee table.  We stayed up late hammering out the details, dimensions, and board sizes.  We work well together.  I tell him what I want and he makes it happen.  By Saturday morning, I had already changed my mind about some of the details.  I’m a girl.  It happens.  Tim rolls with it nicely.

We spent all of Saturday morning chasing our exasperated kids through Home Depot while simultaneously trying to make big decisions on which bolts and boards to use to build our coffee table.



And the rest of the weekend was spent measuring, cutting, hammering, drilling (Tim) and staining, painting, and sanding (me).  I’m not sure what our kids did that whole time, but thankfully they all survived.



I was going to take step by step pictures for you guys, but when I went to get my camera so I could document everything, the battery was dead.  I apologize, but I couldn’t put a hold on our project to wait for the camera battery to charge up – we were on limited time constraints.  If you want to build your own coffee table, InspireMeHeather has some great instructions on her blog that would be helpful (although we built ours a little bit different).

The great thing is that it only cost about a $90.  That and a weekend full of blood, sweat, and tears (ok, not really).  Well, kind of.  I’m pretty sure Tim sweated (although I did not) and Peyton fell down once and there was both blood and tears.  She’s okay though.

But, we now have a new coffee table that we absolutely love.



We love the big chunky legs, the distressed look, the oversized bolts, the cracks and imperfections in the wood (which not only add character, but also hides all our mistakes), and the combination of painted wood on the bottom with the stained boards on top.



While we were building it, I did debate painting the top boards a mix of mismatched, but similar colors like in the inspiration coffee table in the photo, but in the end, we loved the look of the stained wood so much, that we decided to keep it this way.  At least for now.  I can always change my mind later and go back and paint them. 




(If you’re curious, we used 6x6 boards for the chunky legs, which Tim cut to about 14 inches each.  The sides around the coffee table are 2x6 boards.  Tim notched into the 6x6s to get the 2x6s to lay flush into them.  And the top is 5- 1x8 boards with 2- 1x6 boards mixed in.  If I remember correctly, the whole things measures about 43in x 32in. )

Monday, July 18, 2011

Decorating with shutters and crates

 I’ve been on a re-decorating kick these past few weeks.  It started with making a headboard for the bed in our guest bedroom.  The bed in there is a king and king size headboards are expensive, so we’ve just never had one.  But when I saw this picture on one of my favorite blogs, I thought we could do something similar without breaking the bank.


All you really need is a shutter door from home depot (we just bought one and cut it in half), some paint, some screws, and a handy husband.  Actually, if you’re handy yourself, you don’t even need the husband.  Here are the instructions if you’re interested in making your own.  I couldn’t be happier with the fact that we got a king size headboard for only about $80 bucks.  I feel like the guest room is much more put together and welcoming now.

You probably know by now that I’m obsessed with old crates.  The problem is that they are hard to find and they’re expensive when you do find them.  The other day, while perusing around Pinterest (you really should check it out if you haven’t yet), I came across this picture and a tutorial on how to turn basic crates from JoAnn’s into old, interesting ones. 

So I went to Michaels and bought six plain crates.  Originally, I planned to make a book shelf with them similar to the one in the picture above.  At only $10 each, I figured it was worth a shot.

Warning: for some reason beyond me, Michael’s super glues the paper with the barcode on it onto the crates.  The only way to get the paper and the glue completely off the crate is to take a sander to it.  So after sanding off the glue (which was a bit annoying), I just applied stain to each crate.  I used a small brush to get into the little corners and crevices and then applied the rest with a rag.  But instead of making a bookshelf with the crates, I decided to use two crates stacked on top of each other on each side of our bed as side tables.  (And I moved our old side tables downstairs to the guest bedroom.)  I’m kind of loving the new rustic look right now.  And since they only cost $20 for each side table, if I change my mind later (which is likely), it won’t be a big deal.  I can always stack them up to make the bookshelf or  use them somewhere else in the house.  The great thing about crates is that they are versatile.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Repurposed pallets

You may remember that several months ago, I was all into pallets and re-purposing the wood.  After ripping a few pallets apart and cutting the boards into equal sizes, Tim lined up four boards at a time and nailed them together.  (Sorry I don’t have a picture, so you’ll have to use your imagination for the moment.)  He made several of these for me, although at the time I wasn’t quite sure what I was going to make out of them.  I just knew I wanted to do something with them.  Sometimes it takes me awhile to get a complete vision for something.  I have to just let it sit in my mind until one day it hits me and I know just what I want to do.  So these boards sat untouched for several months. 
Then, when Tim and I were in Seacrest, Fl. back in May, I was inspired by some of the things we saw while perusing through the shops. The prices for the items were more than what we wanted to spend, so we snapped some pictures and told ourselves that surely we could make something similar.  We figured it couldn’t be too hard, especially since we already had the boards.
We saw this picture frame.  I actually loved it, but it was like $80 (or was it $200?), I can’t remember, but either way, it was too much.

So when we got home, I pulled my boards out and started painting.  I painted the boards with several different (but similar) shades of paint which we already had sitting around in the garage.  And then I hot glued a starfish (which I picked up while we were in Seacrest) to the boards.  Super easy and the total cost was only $6 for the starfish.

Here is my project on display in the living room.  I love that it reminds me of our trip to Seacrest.

Here is another cute idea for a picture frame that we saw while in Seacrest. 

This is what I ended up doing with another set of our boards.  I had everything already laying around.  I used some  leftover paint on the boards, spray painted a previously black picture frame white, found a shell that I already owned, and then added some super glue to hold it all together.  That was all!  And the best part: it was free!  It sits in between the double sinks in the kids’ bathroom adding an extra touch of beachiness.

We have had a blank space above our bed for months now just waiting to be filled.  I would much prefer something meaningful and unique hanging there to a store bought print, so I was patiently waiting for inspiration to hit me or to fall head over heels in love with something.  Several months ago, I had written down a phrase and was hoping to use it someway in our bedroom, but hadn’t yet figured how.  The phrase I wanted to use was, “Never Stopping, Never Giving Up, Unbreaking, Always and Forever Love.”  I believe it’s from “The Jesus Storybook Bible” by Sally Lloyd Jones.  It’s a phrase that describes God’s love for His people, but it also reminded me of the love between Tim and me, so it had double meaning for me.
Ok, so hold that thought.
Now, if you are a pinterest fan, you may have already seen this next photo.  It’s been quite the inspirational photo on pinterest for what to do with old boards in a master bedroom. 

And in fact, it inspired me.  I decided to use the words from that afore mentioned phrase and paint them on the last two boards that I still had sitting around.
I used stencils to trace out the letters.  I left out “Unbreaking” because it didn’t fit and the quote still sounded fine without it. 

And then I painstakingly painted the letters.

Afterwards, I gave it a good sanding.  In the process, Tyson asked me why I was sanding it.  He also noticed all the splits and holes in the boards and thought we needed new boards.  I told him that I liked them that way because they added character.  Tyson thought about that and then said, “Mater has A LOT of character.  Don’t you think, Mom?”  I laughed and had to agree with him.
Here is how my boards ended up.  I love them.

We obviously still need something else up there above our bed with it, but it will have to come in time.  I’ll know it when I see it (or imagine it).  Until then, I’ll just look at my sign. 

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Entryway bench

I’ve been wanting an entryway bench for a while now, but wasn’t able to find one that I really liked at a price that Tim was willing to pay.

Some of you may have heard of Ana White’s blog.  She makes plans for building all different types of furniture.  Most of the plans are simple enough for regular ol’ non-builders to follow.  One day, I was perusing through her site and I came across a bench that I really liked.  I convinced Tim that building it would be a lot cheaper than buying me one.  He agreed.



We debated staining it vs. painting it, but decided on staining because we knew that we could always paint over the stain later on if we changed our minds, but we could never go back and stain it once it was painted.

It really looked nice stained.



But after leaving it that way for a few weeks to think about, I decided I wasn’t in love with it.  And I wanted to love it.  The brown stain was a little too blah for me.  The wall is a neutral color and the floor is a very similar wood color (to the color of the bench), so I decided that the bench needed some color on it.  I wanted it to stand out more.

Pottery Barn has a very similar bench on their website that you can buy in either an antique blue or antique white.  I liked them both, but was drawn more to the blue.  So this picture was really the inspiration I needed to paint mine.



In my living room (which is where my entryway opens up into), I have accent colors of turquoise.



So I decided to use a lighter shade of turquoise on the bench so that the entryway would feel more cohesive with the living room.  Plus that’s just a color that I’m loving right now.  I settled on “Birds Egg” by Benjamin Moore.  And I really like how it turned out.  It seems brighter and happier to me now.



I also sanded down the edges and corners to give it a more distressed look. 



And here’s a little secret…. my bench opens up to storage underneath!  It’s the perfect spot for all those hats and gloves that I never seem to have a place for.



My next goal is to get (or most likely make) a hanging rack to put above the bench for coats and bags.  I would also love to have some sort of cubbies above the hanging rack for the kids’ backpacks.