Sunday, June 27, 2010

Happy Fourth!

We wanted to cheer up the front of our house and celebrate the season. But we didn't want to spend a lot of money doing it. So this weekend, I whipped up a couple of quick projects on the cheap to brighten up the place!

First, I spruced up our front door wreath with some red berries and some red and blue ribbon.

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That's a little more like it!

We also moved the red chairs from the back porch out front. It's now a great place to sit and read during our many summer thunderstorms!

But it was still missing something, so I dug into my fabric stash and decided to whip up some flag bunting. I found some easy instructions online and got to work.

First, I picked out four coordinating fabrics, and cut strips the wide enough to make a nice sized triangle.

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Then, after making a template from paper, I grabbed my rotary cutter and set to work. I tried this with scissors and it was so much harder, so if you have a rotary, bust it out. Once you have one triangle cut, you can just alternate the orientation and cut the triangles really quickly.

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Then, just pin them right sides together (you can make them matching front and back, but I alternated for a fun look). Then stitch them up on two sides, leaving the top of the triangle open.

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When you turn them out, you'll need something to help with the points. I used the end of my scissors, and the blunt end of a wooden skewer. Then it was time to iron them flat, and put the whole thing together!

Once they were ironed, I used bias tape to bind them. I just pinned each flag to the bias tape, alternating the patterns, and stitched across the entire thing. I didn't have any of the right bias tape, and since this was a "work with what I have" project, I made do. So the front is prettier than the beack, but still pretty darn cute!

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So with a few hours of work and a minimal investment, our front porch is much cheerier, and ready for the holiday weekend!

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Want to see more awesome Red, White and Blue projects? Head on over to Centsational Girl's Stars and Stripes Party for more patriotic fun!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Heavy Goose

Today, a fluke of waking up before the alarm, an un-crowded gym locker room, and freakishly light traffic came together and got me to work at 6 am. Luckily, since I have flexible work hours this means I can take an hour off some other time. I had a meeting for the last hour of my workday, but when I walked in, my very lovely lead told me I looked tired and we should move the meeting until tomorrow. Score!

I escaped 45 minutes earlier, and skipped a big chunk of rush hour. I decided to use my extra time to stop at Home Depot and finally check out the Martha Stewart line.

Now, let me say, Martha Stewart is somewhat of a personal hero of mine. I hope that someday I can be successful in my career, raise a child, keep a home, cook delicious, healthy meals, and balance it all like she has. Yes, I know she has a staff and her daughter is all grown up. But I still thinks she's remarkable. And her slightly out-of-touchness just adds to the charm for me. What, you don't change your sheets everyday?

Anyway, I've been thinking about her new paint line since Making It Lovely used it in her bedroom makeover. And when I stopped by to ogle the new colors, I was floored. Guys, I so wish this line had been out a year ago. I picked up a brochure and a few swatches (which are nice and big. Something Benjamin Moore and Sherwin Williams might want to learn).




I'm kicking myself now that we only have two spaces to paint. There are so many beautiful ones.

Like Rainwater

And Fig

And can I geek out for a second about the names of the colors? I love the names so much. They just make me smile. Like Milk Pail, Graham Cracker Crust, Pup Tent, Brook Trout, Sharkey Gray, and my personal favorite, Heavy Goose.

But, since I was looking for my living room and powder room, I picked up a selection of grays and greiges. We love these for the living room.

Bedford Gray (this is the front runner if we're brave enough to go this dark).

Nimbus Cloud

And for the powder room, I think I'm going dark.

I love Seal.

And Thunderhead. Again with the names! They're killing me.

Too bad Heavy goose was eliminated. And of all things, it was for being too light.

Guest Bath: Take three

No, I didn't paint it again.

I really love the paint color that's in there now. It's soothing and light, even if it is the most saturated color in our house.

But let's go back a year or so, shall we?

We moved in to a house with a bile yellow monstrosity of a bathroom. Pictures do not do this color justice, but it made everyone and everything look sickly and gross. It may have been a perfectly nice yellow, but when we took off the mirror we found dark gray paint, and no signs of primer in between. So the gray was giving the yellow a weird cast.

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We couldn't wait very long before painting this room. We thought we had the color scheme for the house nailed down, with greens, blues, and tans. But we chose a very, very wrong color. And we tried to tone it down with some neutral accessories.

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But even the cream linens weren't cutting it. So armed with a Sherwin Williams gift car from Christmas, we set out to fix our mistake. And it could have been another one, since I chose this color based on a picture of another room online, and never even looked at the sample card with the other colors in our house. But I knew I loved it, and I went for it.

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MUCH improved, yes?

The old neutral accessories went fine in here, but I was itching to bring something more fun in. Our other bathroom is so soothing and relaxing, I wanted some color and kitsch in here. I bought some art on a whim from Etsy. Three letterpress greeting cards, shipped for $16! Greeting cards can be a really great, cheap alternative to prints.

I already had some white frames from my first IKEA trip in February, and I had some charcoal mats cut at a craft store for $20 ($5 each). I had four frames, and I knew I wanted three in the tub area, so I made a quick word cloud from some song lyrics and printed it on cardstock. Unfortunately, Brett doesn't love it so I'm going to make something new, possibly a collage piece? But the colors work for now.

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This little dude might be my favorite piece in the house. I love him (her?).

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The whale and the cactus crack me up. We moved the pen and ink drawings to Brett's office and got new gray mats as well (they were a standard size, so I got them for a steal at $2 each).

But we didn't stop at new art. I was ready to bring some real color in and bring the bathroom back to it's roots. We were itching for some yellow.

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With super sale fabric from Ikea (2 yards at $2.99 a yard!) and some cheap-o curtain rings, I have a fun new shower curtain that makes me smile when I walk in the room.

This room has just a bathtub, thanks to the slanted ceilings. So the curtain is more for looks than function. But it was super easy to make and took me under an hour.

We also brought in some bright white towels and linens, and some more colorful candles, as well as putting in new switches and a GFCI in white. And one of my favorite things are the new hand towels. I had some yellow pom pom trim that I intended for another project and scrapped. With just one yard, I had enough to edge two hand towels for a hit of whimsy and color.

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Okay, I admit it. I love yellow again. Not enough to paint a room yellow, but I can be happy in a yellow tinged environment!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Kitchen: Before and After

As if this afternoon, we are DONE with the never-ending project.

That's right, the kitchen makeover that started in NOVEMBER with a broken oven is over. Apart from the floors (which don't count since that is a multi-room job, right?) we are finished with the kitchen.

Let's look back at what the kitchen used to look like, shall we? This is with the seller's stuff.

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A real tropical paradise right? Or should I say parrot-ice!

After 7 months of working off and on (including a one week blitz early on) we now have a fresh, clean, bright, and (mostly) neutral kitchen that I love spending time in!

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So refreshing! We painted the walls, trim, ceiling, and cabinets. Even though the cabinets were white, they definitely needed to be repainted. What a huge difference a couple of coats of paint can make!

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One of the first things we did was replace the countertops and sink (actually, that was our Christmas present!). The sink was a $60 clearance find and I love it SO much. It's ultra deep, and so much more convenient than our old basic model. We also replaced the faucet and sprayer.

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The backsplash tile might be my favorite project to date. It made such a huge difference.

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Believe it or not, we don't mind standing here at the end of the day and doing dishes! I made this roman shade using a $4 set of mini blinds and Ikea fabric.

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One of the best things we did was declutter the countertops. We got rid of the coffee pot (it comes out when we have guests. We rarely use it otherwise) and cleared out a drawer for my cooking utensils. We also consolidated all of our documents and bills into the file folder next to the microwave. We also cleared off the top of the fridge. We used a paper tray to hold out bread, and bought canisters for coffee and cereal. It's the perfect breakfast station for us!

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I love the color so much I want to marry it!

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We made this area of wasted space a focal point with a storage piece and a plate collage. We've dded to it over time, and we plan to continue until we run out of space! I keep some of my more often used appliances and pots, and cuter serveware in here. I love the color it brings to the room!

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We love the variety in the collage. From a cornbread pan handed down from Brett's great grandmother, to a tag sale plate transformed into a clock, to a handmade plate by yours truly, the variety is what makes it special.

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By the cooking area, we have a floating spice rack and a sign to remind us of our Southern roots.

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I'm happy to say I've got a new favorite room. By far.

Monday, June 7, 2010


So that roman shade I made late last week?

I used the blinds that came out of the kitchen window. Fool proof sizing, right?

Except I forgot to account for the thickness of the tile and the mastic, and now I can't wedge that puppy up in the window. And it wouldn't matter if I somehow could, because my vigorous slapping and tugging managed to break one of the pull strings.

This was a big fat failure.

I'm hoping to salvage the fabric and buy some cheapo blinds that actually fit our new window size. But for now I just want to cry. I was ready to call the kitchen dione with the exception of the floors. And now my 6 month project is officially going into month 7. Excellent.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Roman shades

I'm sure you've seen the directions floating around all over the internet to make your own Roman shade using an old pair of blinds. As soon s I saw them, I knew I wanted to do it for the kitchen window. I finally bought my fabric and tackled it tonight.

As I broke off the extra slats, I got a little nervous. I was totally ruining a good pair of blinds, for possibly nothing! But using just a yard and a half of fabric (this will completely depend on your window size) and some fabric glue, I have a totally new window treatment.

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The wrinkles are because it's sitting on the couch. I still have to clean the window and tile surround, and install the hanging hardware. But come this weekend we'll have a circus striped shade filtering light in our kitchen.

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I was so excited by the folds. It actually works!

This project was well under an hour, start to finish. I did it all while watching Glee, and a friend was fast forwarding through most of the commercial breaks. So easy!

Directions are here (I didn't follow exactly, it will be pretty obvious how it works once you get started). You won't be sorry!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Quoth my Husband

Me: I saw a laundry room painted Comfort Gray but cut down with white paint today (from the ultra fab Centsational Girl), and I think I might want to paint the living room that color.

Brett: silence

Me: What do you think about that?

Brett: I think it doesn't matter because you'll change your mind ten more times before we actually paint it.

At least he knows me, right?