Friday, August 30, 2013

JUST POPPING IN...


I know I said I wouldn't have a post today, but I'm just popping in to let you know I have a new post up at Word Slingers (here) today.  Come on over to read about my favorite way to decorate with something from the grocery store!


And, my sister has 3 new tutorials up on the Hobby Lobby website if you want to check them out.  I just did, and the Needle Felting...oh so cute!  She also has some super unique (fancy!) friendship bracelets, and I have no idea how to crochet, so I better watch that one!  

I hope you all have a great holiday weekend!

Thursday, August 29, 2013

GOLD POLKA DOT STRIPED NICHE



Thankfully this house has lots of storage, and the hall leading back to the master bedroom has an angled corner cabinet with a niche cut out.  The storage cabinet is very useful, but the niche has always a pain in the neck to decorate.  One, it's an odd shape, two, it's asymmetrical, and three, it's height.  One side is wide and one is narrow, so it's difficult to choose where the focal point should be.  Most accessories leave lots of blank space between the tops of them and the rest of the wall to the ceiling, leaving a lot of empty feeling space.


After many different attempts over 6 years of living here, I think I finally figured it out!


For a while I've had the itch to repaint our living spaces, which would be A LOT of painting so it's not on the docket any time soon.  I'm really thinking about going lighter on the walls, maybe a warm white or super light tan.  So, I thought the niche would be a perfect spot to experiment with a color.  I chose "Shoji White" by Sherwin Williams.  I'm loving it so far and wish the rest of the house would be that easy to paint!


If you've been around here for a while, you might have noticed I have a think for stripes and polka dots, whether it's part of a room design or a cake!

The stripes helped to fill the wall space, and the polka dot ceiling was an afterthought just to add some fun.  I adore all of the star and polka dot ceilings that I've seen around the web, and thought this would be the perfect place to make this weird space into something special.


Now, several of you figured out from my sneak peek last week that I used duck tape!  (Yes, ducK tape, I know it's officially called ducT tape, but the brand on the roll is ducK tape so we'll go with that!)

Normally I probably would have just eye-balled the stripes, but I knew I wanted to be hanging some artwork there that would have to be space just right, so I measured.  I started with a clean edge on the top of the piece, tore a strip slightly longer than needed, applied the tape to the wall, and then used an x-acto knife along the bottom to cut a clean edge.

I'm sure some will wonder, so I'll address this question.  Will the tape damage the wall?  Maybe.  I used fresh paint on this wall, and then several days later put the stripes up.  A few weeks later, I decided that they needed to be re-positioned, and as I pulled the tape off it tore a few spots of paint off.  I'm not sure if the recent paint job had anything to do with it, or if the tape would normally tear the wall regardless.  Mine was not really a big deal, I just painted over those spots again.  Just so you know what to possibly expect.

I thought about getting some vinyl when I thought of adding the dots, but just decided to use what I had and use the duck tape for the dots as well.  I found a glass that was just the right size to fit the width of the tape, and traced some circles out.  


To ease the cutting out process, I cut some strips of wax paper and stuck them underneath the tape, leaving an edge without the wax paper, so it would peel off easily like a sticker.  I learned that you need to stick the tape to the wax paper, trace, cut, and peel and stick right away.  I made a bunch of dots and waited a few days before trying to peel off the backing, and it wouldn't come off.  Don't leave it on too long!

Because I wanted to get a good idea of where the dots were going before I started sticking them up, I used pieces of painter's tape to determine their placement.


My walls are lightly textured, so I tried not to press anything down too hard.  It looked smoother if I applied with a light touch.  If you have smooth walls would be even better!

I knew almost as soon as I brought them home that I wanted my thrifted prints to go in this spot.  I cut new mats using this method and put them in new frames, and I can't tell you how much I love these pictures!  


I'm keeping an eye out for a bust to go here, it just seems like that's naturally what needs to be in this spot!  In the meantime though, I just used some greenery from the yard, and moved the thrifted horse head from the living room. 


For a minute I got a wild hair...


It didn't stay.  Maybe at Christmas, but I really want the perfect little pendant light that I can replace that can light with.  


Now I don't cringe anymore every time I see this spot as I walk to my room!


Have you used duct tape as decor in your home?

I won't be posting tomorrow, but I'll see you on Monday, even though it's a holiday.  I have a VERY special week planned, and you'll want to check in every day...promise!  

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

{GREAT FINDS} AT GARDEN RIDGE


Do you have a Garden Ridge in your town?  We've had one for many years, and it used to be one of my favorite places to shop, years and years ago.  For at least the past 5 years or so, it's been a major let down almost every time I've visited.  It seems like it got junky, cluttered, and full of just cheap stuff.  

Still, I'll still check it out occasionally when I am looking for something specific and have exhausted all other possibilities.  Last week I stopped in looking for something like this.  No luck there, but I was surprised at how much great stuff I found!  I thought you might like to see, too.

Sherry would have loved the aisles and aisles of ceramic animals they had.  All of these were really nicely sized and around $20 each.


These reminded me of some very similar (and pricey) products from Pottery Barn, and came in several different colors.


These little side tables were such a fun shape, came in a variety of colors, and would be great nightstands in a tight spot.



There were countless lanterns to choose from, big (some gigantic!) and small.




Outdoor furniture cushions abound, and they had several using very current fabrics.




Looking for a mirrored furniture piece?  They had a huge variety with great details to choose from! (the orange is a reflection of the floor)




Maybe it's strange, but for years now I've wanted a pair of concrete lions for my front porch.  Can't explain why.  I'll be keeping an eye out for a great deal, but these resin versions were pretty nice.  



So, if you haven't been to Garden Ridge in a while, it might be worth a trip!  And guess what they were doing?  Putting out Christmas!  Whoa....

* * * * * * * * * * 

For those of you who remember a few posts (here and here) and prayed for him, our little friend Xander lost his 9 year battle with cancer this past week.  I attended his funeral yesterday and it was such a tribute to the incredible little boy that he was, and a joyous celebration of his life.  Please keep his Mom Ricki Lea, Dad Doug, little brother and 2 little sisters in your prayers.  We are confident Xander is whole and rejoicing in heaven with Jesus, but we are sad that he's gone and I know his family will miss him every second for the rest of their lives until they see him again.  It's so nice to have that blessed assurance that death isn't the end if you're a believer and follower of Jesus.



Go here to see a local news clip about Xander.


Monday, August 26, 2013

WHAT "WOOD" YOU DO? & A GOOD GOLD SPRAY PAINT


How does Sunday evening always get here so fast?  No matter how great my intentions are, I'm always sitting down around 9:30 on Sunday evening to write Monday morning's post.  Anyway, by the time you read this, Happy Monday Morning! 

I started a project over the weekend that I need your help with.  I bought this lamp on clearance at Marshall's a few years ago (while we were out on a date for Valentine's Day...gotta love a husband who waits for you while you shop!) .  I love it except it had a white washed glaze on it that I wasn't too crazy about.  


All I could think about was making it into something like this:

Pottery Barn

Doesn't the shape look similar to the one in the middle?  I stripped the finish off of the lamp and got it down to bare wood.


Now, I'm not sure how to finish it off.  Does it need a light stain?  A coat of lemon oil?  Poly? Clear wax? Dark wax?  I just want that rustic, natural look. If anyone has ever done a project with raw wood, I'd love any suggestions!

In other news, a few weeks ago I found this great little mirrored tray on clearance at Kirklands, but the wood trim was silver.  I knew it would work so much better in my space if it were gold, so after a quick taping job I dug out some gold spray paint.  I grabbed a can that I've had for AGES, and just came across it a while back when I cleaned out my paint stash.  


Just wanted to let you know that it's a great color!  Usually, Rustoleum's Metallic Gold or Metallic Brass is my go-to gold spray paint, but this one is probably a new favorite.  It's just a warm gold with a tiny hint of sparkle.  The brand is Design Master and can be purchased at Michaels.  

I'll leave you today with a photo that makes me happy.  


This is AFTER I cleaned out and organized my paint stash (where I found that gold paint I had forgotten about!).  I can't tell you how good it is to go out in the garage and know exactly where whatever I'm looking for is, and to know exactly what I have!  I'm sure that there are so many multiples of the same color because I didn't know what I already had, so I just kept buying more rather than digging around.  Not anymore!  And, I'm happy to say that it has stayed like that for several months.  Major accomplishment!  

Enjoy your day!


Friday, August 23, 2013

FRIDAY FAVORITES (6)


I'm always torn about adding a watermark to my photos.  I want them to be easily identifiable, but at the same time like the look of a crisp clear photo.  For the photos I have been watermarking lately, I found a great tutorial on how to make a watermark using Picmonkey from Beginner Beans.  It was so easy, I just saved it to my desktop, and I can add it to any photo that I choose in a flash.


Chalkboard Doors from If It's Not Baroque-such a fun idea!  Her blog design is pretty cute too...





I want one of these-


and maybe one of these too.



Today I'm so excited to be participating in the Suzy's "House Snooping" series over at Worthing Court.  Come over and do a little snooping through my house!


Also, many thanks to Kim at Too Much Time on my Hands for including my updated ceiling fans in a round-up of Mod-Podge projects she did.  There are some great ideas there!


Today, I'll leave you with a sneak peek at a project I'm dying to show you next week!


Have a great weekend, friends!  Tomorrow I guess I get to do whatever I want {It's my birthday!}, which may include getting a jump on a new DIY project I have in mind!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

FAQs-YOUR QUESTIONS ANSWERED



Alright, I've responded to these three questions enough times individually that I figured it was time to dedicate a post to them!  Here are the 3 most common questions that come to my inbox and their answers.

1)  What is your paint color?





The reason I don't really have this readily posted is that I made it up!  I mixed colors until I got what I liked.  I've looked on some of my paint chips and Sherwin Williams #6107 Nomadic Desert and #6108 Latte are very close.  It's sort of right in between those two, so either one would probably be a pretty close match.

Or, here's a photo of the formula if you're interested. *Note*:  This formula is for a 5 GALLON bucket.  It will need to be adjusted if you want 1 gallon.


It can take on a dozen different looks depending on the lighting, but the sample in that photo is pretty spot-on.

2)  Where did you get your curtains?

I made them!   I bought the majority of the fabric at the Ballard Outlet, clearanced out for $5/yard.  


Not sure what they called it, but the maker is Waverly and you have two choices...  the indoor/outdoor fabric blend is called "Tucker Resist" and the cotton blend is called "Willamsburg."  They are both the same pattern, just different fabric content.  Mine is the Tucker Resist.  It's a bit stiffer than the other would be, but I like the body that adds, and it's also less expensive than the other.  I also have these hanging in our breakfast nook, so I don't worry if any food happens to get slung on it, I can scrub it off  :)  It comes in several different colors.  




Here is where I bought a bit extra that I needed, but if you just do a search with the pattern name it's pretty easy to find.  This site was the best deal I could find at the time, but that was over a year ago so I don't know if that's still the case. (notice that their prices are by the HALF yard, double it for a yard)  


My fabric is the Ebony colorway, and Miss Mustard Seed has the same pattern in the indigo color.  Beautiful!


3) What kind of glaze did you use on your kitchen cabinets and how did you apply it?

Unfortunately, that project was pre-blogging so I don't have photos of the process, but I can tell you a little bit about what I did.  


I purchased the glaze from a local paint store and the color was ?.  I just dug the can out of the garage and wouldn't you know it...I think the color name got cut off.  I really think it was "Deep Umber" though.  I don't know if that's a readily available glaze color or just available from the store where I bought it.  Van Dyke Brown is also a very popular and good glaze color.



Just a little background, the paint I used was Behr's Cottage White and I used the Paint+Primer, without any sanding, just a good wiping down of the wood before I painted.  Take into consideration that the finish on my stained wood was aging and wasn't super slick.  I would recommend painting several scraps of wood and then glazing your samples.   I didn't do this before hand and I was surprised at how much the glaze changed the paint color.  My paint color changed from white to a really warm creamy color (I hate to say almost hinting at a yellowish cream, but it really is).  

In hind-sight, I probably would have just used a tiny brush and applied some glaze to the nooks and crannies rather than glazing the entire piece, but it's up to you and the look you're going for.  The glaze also accented all of the grain of the oak, which wasn't as apparent with the paint only. I like that, but if that's not the look you want then you should probably skip the glaze.


For the glazing process, I used a foam brush to paint a coat of glaze over the entire piece, and then quickly wiped it down with a cloth.  That didn't remove as much of the glaze as I wanted to, so I also had a rag nearby soaked with mineral spirits that I used for a second wipe-down.  That really helped remove the majority of the glaze, just leaving a hint behind.  Even with all of the wiping, your paint color will still be different than what you started with.  I didn't wipe off as much in the crevices and around the trim where I wanted more detail to show.  There's not a right or wrong way to do it, but play around until you get the amount of glaze and look you want, and then do all of your other pieces exactly the same way.  If you're lucky enough to have a partner, it really works best if the same person does all of the wiping so the look will be uniform.

After glazing, I let it sit for a while (I can't remember if it was just a few hours or a day).  It takes days and days for a glaze to fully dry, but it can still be a little tacky when you put your poly top coat on.  The poly will help seal everything and help it to dry more quickly.


I used the polyurethane in a spray can as a top coat.  From what I've read it may have a tendency to yellow over time on light colors.  I haven't noticed it changing from the original warm creamy color yet, but don't have an original sample to compare it to.   "Polycrylic", which is water-based, is what you really should use for a top coat on light colors.  I took a short cut and used the polyurethane because it was in a spray can, but I knew I was taking a risk of the color changing over time.  



I'm very happy with how everything has held up.  The only spot I've had to touch up is the corner of the cabinet frame where we keep the trash can...with my finger and nails scaping that a hundred times a day, it gets a bit chipped.

Now, take all of that advice or leave it...I'm not a professional and as this was my first time painting cabinets and glazing, I was kind-of winging it.  If anyone else has tips on glazing, please leave them in the comments!

So there you have it!  When I get around to it, I'll add a FAQ page to my header with these answers posted.  Feel free to ask if there's anything else you need to know!





Tuesday, August 20, 2013

HOW WE MADE THE KITCHEN LANTERN PENDANTS WORK



I've always wanted some additional statement lighting in our kitchen, but with the way our current lighting was configured it just wasn't going to work.  Today I'm sharing how we went about working around that and installing the new lights.  This turned in to quite a lengthy post, but I wanted to show our process in case anyone else has a similar problem.
  


We had great lighting, but our ceiling looked like swiss cheese...there were lots and lots of recessed can lights (22 altogether in our open kitchen/living/dining!).  The biggest problem in adding lighting over the island was that none of the current lighting was centered.  It was centered for the room as a whole, but the island is off center and none of the can lights were where they needed to be.  So, we knew that if we bit this project off it would not be quick and easy.  


Thankfully, my soon-to-be-brother-in-law knows a thing or two about electrical work, and agreed to help us out.  We decided to remove the entire center row of can lights in order to install the pendants there.  However, this left the lights on the other two sides unbalanced, so we moved two of them over allowing both sides of cans to be an equal distance from the pendants in the center.  

I got everything measured and marked. To determine the exact position of the new lights, I made a mark with painters tape on the island right below where I wanted the lights to be.  Then, I cut a long string, tied a pen to the end of it, and attached the other end with a thumbtack to the ceiling.  I kept adjusting the thumbtack slightly until the pen on the bottom hung exactly over the mark on the island.  Then, we had our spot for the new lights!  I also measured and marked where the lights on the right side needed to go, and the lights with the green tape are the ones we removed.   



In the mean time Ray and Micah worked together in the attic to pull the old lights out, move the 2 cans over, put in ceiling patches where needed, and install the wiring and ceiling braces for the new pendants.  I wish I could give you a how-to on that, but I didn't even try to figure out what they were doing!  Micah even installed a completely new dimmer switch for the lanterns, so they could operate separately from the can lights.




On a side note, while the boys were working my sister and I were doing fun stuff...like make-up shopping and framing artwork for her bedroom.

After a long afternoon of work, Micah left us with 2 recessed lights in a new spot, 2 places wired and ready to install the new pendants, and lots of ceiling holes to finish patching.  He did the hard part, the rest we could handle.




To repair the seams left around the patches that Micah put in, I filled the edges with spackling paste, let it dry and lightly sanded.  Then I used some texturing compound and feathered around the seams to try to blend eveything in, and hand sanded when it dried.  



After painting, it looked terrible!  The patched spots were very obvious!  I decided that I hadn't sanded nearly enough, and knew it was going to take more than sanding by hand.  So, I taped plastic around the area as much as I could, plugged in my palm sander, and got after it.  Yes, it was messy and dust still got everywhere, but it had to be done! 



It worked!  Everything was nice and smooth and the filled patches were undetectable.  Even without any additional texturing, everything  blended right in.  Now, unless you stare really hard and the lighting is just right, you can't tell where the old lights were.  



With the lighting from this angle you can see the places that were repaired, but I'm sure that's a paint issue more than anything, and someday when we get around to repainting the entire ceiling everything will be completely undetectable. (Years ago when we painted the ceiling, we used a Satin finish.  I've since learned that is a big no-no on ceilings...if it had been flat paint I'm sure none of these spots would have showed.)





Once the ceiling repair work was done, Ray was able to easily install the lights.  First, we hung the light cage up without the glass, just to make sure the height was right.  Those are heavy...it helped not to have the glass in until the last minute.





Now, because I don't want to lead anyone astray, I have one problem to share with you that I didn't think about before putting these lights up.  With our cooktop being out in the open on the island, we don't have any kind of vent for the stove.  SO... after cooking for a few weeks with the lights up I noticed some splatters and residue on the glass.  I don't want to be cleaning these lights all the time.  Honestly it's a little tricky to clean the glass on the inside-it's a tight squeeze to get in there and I don't want to be rocking the light around a lot.  I came up with a little solution that's not the prettiest, but it helps.  When I'm cooking something particularly messy, like frying something, I stretch a shower cap over the bottom of the light!  


Yeah, I know, SUPER classy...but it works!  Some particles still get on the outside of the glass, but I don't mind cleaning that part as much.  Even with that problem, I still think it's totally worth it to have the lights there.

One more tid-bit in the lighting saga, remember I bought these at the Habitat for Humanity ReStore last year.  They were brand new in a sealed box, so it never crossed my mind to open it up and check them out.  Well, sure enough, one of the panes of glass was cracked when I opened the box, and the store wouldn't do anything about it.  These panes are beveled, so to replace one would have cost me about $40.  Crazy...I only paid $50 for the whole light!  Needless to say, I decided to go with a regular piece of glass for that one pane, for about $10, and turned that side to the back.  I really don't think anyone would ever even notice, so we'll just let that be our little secret, o.k.?  :)


So, I guess the moral of this story is don't let a little something like lights being in the wrong place stop you from doing something you really want to do! (And kudos to you if you actually read this novel of a post!)