Monday, August 31, 2009

A hint of fall

Fall is in the air, literally - it was in the 60's this morning! The start of a new season always makes me ready to change my decor a bit. I'm not quite ready for pumpkins and hay bales, but I wanted a little something to tide me over until October. I changed things up a bit in my hall and in my living room - but you have to wait till Thursday for the living room!

This is the hall "before" I've had variations on the flower/book/tin bucket look all spring and summer.

I wanted to keep things airy while bringing in some more earthy colors. Enter the twin bird and twig art. One set lives in my friend Tracy's kitchen, and the other set now lives in my hall.

It is impossible to get a good shot of my skinny little hall, but the close up below gives you a better idea of the look.

I know birds and nests are traditionally a spring look, but I think I'm going to enjoy having them around until late fall.


Sunday, August 30, 2009

Fall's gotta brand new bag!

I've been wanting a new purse for fall, so this weekend I finally made one. As you may or may not know, every single purse I've carried since the age of 15 had been made by me out of duct tape. I like to get an idea of color and shape trends for each season, then I kind of reinterpret those in a funky duct tape way.

A little trip over to informed me that the color trends for fall (who, exactly, gets to decide this anyway?) are teal, papaya, and amethyst. As I had teal duct tape on hand, but not purple or orange, the color decision pretty much solved itself.

I spotted this beauty while scoping out the site for the newest bag designs. Creating a shape this elaborate is beyond my duct taping skills, but I thought I could reinterpret the handle and buckle design.
Since I am a lazy crafter, I decided to re-do my summer purse, rather than starting from scratch. So, this the before:

First, I removed the ribbon, cut off the old tab closures, and cut off the top yellow strip with the rivets and straps. Next, I covered the entire thing in teal duct tape. I added some extra height to the top edge in order to create a look more like my inspiration bag. I also added a faux buckle to the front.

I'm pretty happy with the end results. The bag is really teal in person. For some reason it comes out more blue in pictures.

Yay, for a new fall look!

Did y'all do anything crafty or creative over the weekend?


Thursday, August 27, 2009

Fresh Fashion Friday

Hey y'all! Today marks a first for me, I'm venturing into the world of fashion. Long before I had a home to work on and decorate, I spent hours making jewelry and accessories, fashioning purses from duct tape, and pouring over magazines. I still love putting outfits together, but I haven't spent much time on it lately. With school back in gear, I don't want thinking of what to wear each day to turn into the chore it felt like last year. In an effort to spice things up and get that creativity in gear, I'm starting a Fresh Fashion Friday feature. The goal is to create one unique outfit each week and feature it on Friday. That way, I'll have to come up with 52 different outfits to keep this going for a year.

Here's what I wore Wednesday:

From head to toe:
- white tank top from h&m (I wear these under almost everything!)
- navy cap sleeve Henley tee from Old Navy
- brown and navy safari skirt from Dots (I removed the sash from the skirt and wrapped it twice around my waist to belt my tee)
- brown satin ballet flats from Payless
Note: I think a chunky brown necklace would look great with this outfit, but I don't have one and I have to wear a bulky ID lanyard at work anyway.
As you can see, I don't like to spend a ton of money on clothes! I don't plan to buy a lot of new items to meet my goal of 52 unique outfits, so I hope Fresh Fashion Fridays will help me look at what I do have in a new light and not get bored with what's already in my closet.
What do y'all think? Feel free to post your own wardrobe creations and link up. If this takes off maybe I'll try a McLinky party one day, ya never know!


Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Bathroom Reveal

Confession time, with the craziness of my first week back at school, I knew I wouldn't have time to do any fun projects. So, I saved my big bathroom reveal for today so I could get in on the fun at DIY Day and Transformation Thursday. I've been holding out on y'all with these pictures, forgive me?
Be sure the head on over to both of these lovely blogs for much more project eye candy.
And now, the bathroom! Let's take a look see back at the shudder worthy before pictures.

Remember the exposed under the sink clutter?
The brass fixtures? The mirror with scratched glazing?
Oh yeah, and the rotted hole in the wall and rusty heat unit? Well, they are all no more! We couldn't do a complete overhaul because 1. the bathroom is teeny tiny and normal fixtures would not fit in this pint sized space, and 2. this is not our forever house, we only plan to rent the roost for a couple of years. Even so, things are looking pretty good.
First, I made an easy peasy no-sew sink skirt out of dish towels.

Then, Brad worked a little magic and turned the brass light fixtures a lovely brushed nickle.
I turned a couple of extra dish towel into hand towels with the help of some clip art and iron on transfer paper.
To fix the mirror issue, I painted a five dollar mirror from Wally World white, and used some sage ribbon to hang it in front of the built in mirror. Note: I still want to clean up the sink area a bit. I'm on the look out for a carafe to hold the mouthwash, and I want to try some bar keeper's friend to shine things up a bit.
I just used plain printer paper to cover up the old mirror.
My dad tore out the rotting wainscoting and Sheetrock, (you don't even want to KNOW what it looked like back there!) patched the wall, and added new new bead board. He also found some high heat white spray paint to give our base board heat new life.
I love it! I feel like the bathroom has gone from truck stop to spa!

Thanks to my dad and Brad for working on the hard parts!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

This little piggy wore pink

I wanted to let you guys in on a pretty sweet giveaway going on at A Soft Place to Land. Most of y'all have probably already heard about this, but in case you don't make a habit of visiting Kimba's awesome blog, I wanted to let you know that if you stop by and comment before Friday, you can enter to win $50 to spend at a cute shop called the Pink Pig.

Here's a little peak at some of the things from this shop that I heart the most.

This would be perfect for my trips to Trader Joe's! Or, ya know, the beach!

If I win the 50 smackers, I'm going to have a tough time deciding between this gorgeous birdy shirt and this gorgeous birdy cake stand.

Maybe my bird infatuation is getting a tad out of control?
While I'm on the subject of giveaways, I noticed I'm getting pretty close to my 100th post. I'm thinking about doing a little giveaway of my own, but since my first (and only) attempt resulted in one entry ( love you Tracy!) I'm a little hesitant. What do ya say, If I did a giveaway to mark 100 would y'all be interested?


Monday, August 24, 2009


Our office is still not quite ready for a close up, but I have a few more pictures to give you an idea of what's to come.


This original movie poster (scored for a dollar at a yard sale) became the inspiration piece for the whole room.

Vertigo is one of my favorite movies, so I was super excited to find the poster. The poster became even more exciting when I found this filing cabinet at a thrift store.

Normally, I would have been gung ho about repainting this a more soothing color, but it matched the poster so perfectly, that it became the start of a vintage orange and aqua color scheme.

Once I found the french memo board and the my mom made the feed sack valance, things really started to come together.


I wanted to continue the old school Hollywood vibe with some simple black and white artwork, so I created this grid on the empty wall. My brother and Brad's uncle are the artists responsible for the two sketches.

I knew hanging these was going to be a bear, so I thought things out ahead of time. A lot of people in blog land have a great strategy for hanging groupings that involves tracing the frames on paper, cutting them out, marking where the hangers belong, arranging the cut outs on the wall with painter's tape, and then nailing through the paper. This idea sounds awesome, but if I'm totally honest with myself, I know I'm not patient enough to go through all those steps. So, I modified the idea to suit my personality. I opened up a large paper grocery bag (yay, for Ukrops!) and laid it on the floor. Next, I arranged all the frames on the paper until I liked the way they looked. Then I traced around them and marked where the hangers were situated. I used tape to secure the big piece of paper to the wall, and a level to make sure my eyeballing skills weren't too far off the mark. NOTE: do not leave the stack of frames on the floor while you hang the paper. Doing this runs the risk of broken glass caused by stepping squarely on the stack of frames whilst attempting to survey your handiwork. Anyway, once I had the paper level, all I had to do was hammer nails through the marks I had made noting the hanger placement. After all the nails were in place, I just ripped off the paper and my pictures were ready for hanging. This method worked perfectly, with the exception of the broken glass mishap. Note to self: wear shoes during future DIY projects!



P.S. It was pretty close, but thankfully, no toes were harmed during this project!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

What I did on my summer vacation.

Way back in May, I made a list of goals for my summer vacation. Although my students still have two more weeks before school starts, Librarians head back to work today. So, it's time for me to take a look see back at the list and see how I did!
1. Do something about the bathroom - (Grade: A+ ) Our tiny little bathroom is looking so much better with a new sink skirt, freshly painted light fixtures, white bead board wainscoting, and a mirror re-do. I'll post pictures this week of the new look!

2. Put my feet in the ocean - (Fail) We did make it to Chesapeake for a lovely weekend with our friends Tracy and Tim, but the weather was not ocean worthy. However, my favorite part of the beach is just walking along the shore, so this one could still happen in the fall.

3. Paint stuff - ( Grade: A) Let's see, I now have a green bench, a black tray, two blue trays, a white cabinet, a white trunk, and brushed nickle light fixtures. Not too shabby! I didn't get around to the two bookshelves, but that might be a project for spring break.

4. Do very Richmond-y things, especially free and cheap Richmond-y things - Summer calls for picnics at Maymont (Fail), window shopping in Cary Town (A), movies at the Byrd (A+ we saw 3), and at least one outdoor concert (Fail). I also want to try some new things like the ghost walk, check out the addition at the VA Museum, and finally use my free teacher membership at the Science Museum (Fail on all three) Extra credit: We had shakes at Galaxy Diner and went to the Watermelon Festival.

5. Blog more regularly (A+) and start a book (Fail) - I think I did so well on the blogging that I'm not too sad about the lack of any progress whatsoever on a book.

6. Generally make good use of the time and money - this includes not sleeping half the day (A-), actually accomplishing something each day (A), volunteering (Vacation Bible School here we come) (A), saving money (A+ we are now debt free!), getting more in shape/less pear-like/able to use more than the ten pound resistance band/actually use the resistance bands/not leave resistance bands in sloppy pile behind the bedroom door, and not spending money on exercise equipment that will end up in a sloppy pile behind the bedroom door (Fail) - Not too bad overall. Brad and I ate out and went to the mall way less than last summer. In fact, I don't think I bought a single clothing item, except for a few things at Goodwill and a sweater (bought with a gift card) from h&m. I feel like I got a ton of projects done around the house, read more than half of the book review books I took home, tried some new recipes, and spent time with family and friends. I didn't pick up any exercise equipment for most of the summer, but my pants still fit and I ate plenty of fresh fruit and veggies, so I'm OK with that.
Overall, I feel like I was blessed with one of the best summers I've had in a long time!


P.S. Thanks for your support about our ant problem. A little raid and some traps seems to have sent them packing! We had a very nice cook in (we got around 3 inches of rain on Saturday!) with some college friends.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

The ants go marching. . .

If you know me, you also know that I am one of those obnoxiously perfectionist type persons. I tend to get too caught up in having things, "just so."
Brad and I are having some friends over for a cookout tonight, so I've spent the last couple of days cleaning the house, finishing up the bathroom project, planning the menu, and generally trying to ensure that everything will be nice for our friends.
This morning, when I walked into the kitchen to make breakfast, I was greeted by a sight right out of a horror movie. Ants. Thousands of tiny, swarming, sugar ants. They were blazing a trail from the front door to the kitchen trash can, where they had discovered an empty sugar bag - apparently not as empty as I thought. I screamed, and fussed, and started attacking with cleaning spray and entire roll of paper towels. The whole time I'm thinking, "Our friends are coming over! They're going to think we never clean!"
Sometimes, I can't believe how much I miss the point. I'm so grateful that God allows things like like this to happen, so my perspective can be zapped back into place. After I finished dealing with the ants, I realized how badly I handled the situation. Brad and I have been blessed with friends, even if we don't get to see them as often as we'd like, and our friends love us. Not a perfect house. Not a perfect meal. Our friends love us. And they aren't going to love us any less if they happen to spot a few wayward ants around a trash can. I'm the only one who cares (or even notices) if things are perfect or not.
And so today, I'm thankful for the ants, and the overcast sky, and our imperfect house, because God uses these little inconveniences to remind me of how many great big blessing I have!

<3 ( your far from perfect blogging friend)

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Two wrongs make a right wreath

It's Thursday, so y'all know the drill - lots of linky fun with Transformation Thursday at The Shabby Chic Cottage and DIY Day at A Soft Place to Land. Head on over and check out all the creativity in action!

Way back in March I posted about making this wreath:

It's been a perfectly good wreath, but I've been itching to make something new to carry me from late summer into fall.
I started thinking about my twig framed bird art, and came up with the brilliant idea (not so much) to make a twig wreath.

I bought a trusty green foam wreath from the Dollar Store,

painted it a blue grey, and started hot gluing twigs all over it (super wrong big mistake number one). I don't know that I can fully articulate just how dumb this looked. It was as if an insane bird (a few tweets short of a song) started building the world's ugliest nest. Not a good thing at all. I quickly pulled all the twigs off the wreath, and started brainstorming a new way to tackle "operation late summer wreath." Then I remembered this fabric:

I really like the brown, blue, and muddy yellow honeycombs on the fabric on the far right. I even started to use this as the background for the bird art pictured above. However, I knew that little birdy was going to fly off to be a housewarming gift for my friend Tracy, and I felt like the fabric was too modern and busy to work with her soothing decor (this was big wrong mistake number two). I didn't have this revelation until I'd already assembled the frame and art, so I had to go back and start over.
I'd saved all the honeycomb fabric from the framing disaster, and decided to have a go at using it on my wreath. I cut long strips on the bias, and wrapped them around the wreath, stapling at each end. I used the same tan ribbon and vintage belt buckle from my first wreath to hang this one.
I think it looks pretty spiffy! If you take out all my false starts, this project only took about 5 minutes and only cost about $1.50. How's that for learning from your mistakes?
I know y'all must have some great DIY and crafting disaster stories. You know ya wanna share!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Price My Space - The Kitchen

The Nester is hosting another lovely Price My Space party, and I couldn't resist joining in with one of my favorite rooms in our house - the kitchen. In most of the roost, I've tried to balance a crisp cottage look with some vintage and beachy touches, but in the kitchen I let my love of red explode and went full on retro.
I wish I had some "before" pictures of our kitchen. Picture dark orange cabinets, 70's wallpaper, and blue carpet.

The first thing we did is add extra cabinets over the stove. We found this section in the closet organization section of Lowes. I think it was about $50. I arranged some of my Fiestaware and vintage kitchen goodies along the top. I received everything as gifts except for the glass bottle - I found that at Class and Trash for $2.00

The red dish towels and red Martha Stewart teapot were Christmas gifts from my mom.

We replaced the existing cabinets with Ikea Stat cabinets. I honestly don't remember exactly how much everything turned out to be, because as renters we helped my dad with the labor, but didn't pay the bill. I do know that they are very, very reasonable. The rounded edged end cabinet was $74.00 and is one of my favorite parts of the whole kitchen. Four Ikea Branas baskets hold all my dish towels and aprons and were a good deal at $5.99 each. The rug in front of the sink is one of my favorite yearly deals. Every year I treat myself to a new rug during Target's half price day after Christmas sale. This one was only $2.00 and the red, cream, and brown color scheme is perfect in my kitchen! The laminate flooring is Ikea Tundra Antique and was only $1.15 a square foot. It has held up really, really well and I love it.

My mom made the campy valances for me. I think they add a little light hearted fun.

Everything pictured was a wedding present or hand-me-down.

Brad's Maw-Maw gave us the Kitchen Aid when we got married. I love it very, very much!

A better look at the base cabinets. The pull out drawers are awesome! These cabinets were the perfect choice for the roost, but I'm torn about putting them in our forever house. They've held up pretty well, but I think I'd prefer to put in real wood when we build.

I found this adorable red folding table at Class and Trash for $4.00. The red wasp catcher is from Target and was around $3.oo on sale. The blue tin pail only set me back .50 cents at a yard sale and the little lobster hanging from the handle was $4.00 at a local decor store called Cottage Lane.

I usually move these folding chairs out of pictures, but in all honesty, this is where they live. We need them for extra seating if more than four people need to squeeze around the table. They were $14.99 each at Ikea. The small cabinet was a hand-me-down from Brad's parents that I painted white. I received the white Pottery Barn pitcher as a wedding gift from my co-workers. I made the tea bag wrapper pop art.

This is an older picture, but the sun was more forgiving that day!

I snapped this one today. The framed flour sack art consists of a .50 cent paper flour sack from class and trash, a sheet of red poster board from the Dollar Tree and a 5 buck frame from Ikea. Brad's brother gave us the wine cabinet as a wedding present. We picked up the vintage metal kitchen hutch at Class and Trash for $100.00. The milk glass pieces on top were all picked up by my mom at yard sales.

Our kitchen table was around $20.00 at Goodwill and received a white paint job over spring break.

This is the tablecloth I found when we cleaned out my Great Uncle's house. I used little condiment bowls ($2.50 half price after Christmas at Target) and some votives I had hanging around to create a centerpiece.

This is the view as you leave the kitchen. The door leads to our bedroom.

The repro Kitty-Kat clock was a first anniversary present from my parents. I think it adds just the right amount of kitsch.

This lobster print was from a calender. I used a $5.00 record album frame from Michael's to class it up a bit.
I hope y'all enjoyed my kitchen tour! Head on over to the Nester's to see all the other inspiring Price My Space posts!