Friday, January 31, 2014

LOTS OF PROJECTS STARTED...


It's been a little slow around the blog this week.  It's been cold, I've HAD a cold, and motivation has been low!  However, yesterday the wind was down and it was warm enough to spray paint and do some sanding, so I scurried around to get several things started.  I was trying to get everything finished that needed to be done outside before our next round of winter weather starts tomorrow, so now I have 4 or 5 things to finish up inside.  So, this weekend I have plenty to do to keep me busy!




(Don't hate me...I'm saying farewell to the peacock blue on the dresser...)

What are your weekend plans?  Are your projects at a standstill?  Hopefully I'll have at least one of these things ready to show you on Monday!

I can't leave you without a pretty photo for the day, so here you go!

Link from Pinterest broken...anyone have a source?

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Wednesday, January 29, 2014

BAR KEEPER'S FRIEND, MY NEW BEST FRIEND


Today I have a quick tip for you that's one of those "Duh, why didn't I already know that?" things, so I thought you might be interested in it too!

The other night I was reading my Instagram feed and saw a beautiful old metal bowl that my friend Emily (IG elevengables) picked up.  Her photo showed the difference after she cleaned it up with some Bar Keeper's Friend.  


Well, I've had BKF in my cabinet for years, but it's never occurred to me to use it to polish up brass or silver!  So, first thing the next morning, I pulled out my badly tarnished (not pretty tarnish anymore...just bad!) silver plated champagne bucket and gave it a try.  



I was AMAZED at how quickly and easily it cleaned up!  I've used Brasso for brass pieces and silver polish on this one in the past and it took much more effort and time, and didn't do as good of a job.  It's still not perfect, but I didn't want it to look TOO clean and shiny.

Then I pulled out my thrifted silver-plated tray that needed to be shined up.  



I used a wet scratch-free scotch pad, sprinkled a little BKF on it, and gently rubbed.  I made a paste with the powder and water in a bowl and used a toothbrush on some of the places with grooves that were harder to get to.  BKF also comes in a liquid/gel form now which might be easier to use, but I didn't have any on hand and the powder worked fine.

**Edited to add:  I now use the liquid BKF with a soft cloth as well as the powder, love it too and it's a bit faster since there is no mixing involved.  Either works great!  And, it's not mentioned here, but I love this for brass too. This post covers using BKF with brass.

DISCLAIMER:  The instructions clearly say "Do not use on gold or silver", but these were just thrifted pieces that I wasn't concerned about ruining, so I didn't have anything to lose by trying it.  Use with your best judgement. 



OK, how in the dark was I?  Are you all already using BKF to shine up your metal pieces?

P.S. - This isn't a sponsored post, just passing along a product I love and I think you will too!


Linking up with:  Home Stories A to Z

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Friday, January 24, 2014

MOM'S GALLERY WALL AND RIBBON PHOTO MATS


In the past, I've shared with you how to do your own framing, how to cut your own mat, and how to make a custom fabric mat.  Today, I'm showing you one more option for a photo mat.

This week I've been working to put together a new gallery wall in my Mom's kitchen.  They've recently re-painted and she was ready for some updated family photos in the spot where she's always had our pictures in the past.  

She already had plenty of frames.  But often, especially with vintage or thrifted frames, the size can be slightly different than the standard print sizes these days.  It's especially aggravating when the frame opening is just  >>this much<<  too big for your photo.  So, here's how I like to solve that problem sometime.  With ribbon!  



Granted, you can always cut a mat.  But depending on the size, sometimes to cut a mat that would be thick enough to not look wimpy you'd be covering up too much of your photo.  Here's an example:

I printed our family photo as close to this frame size as I could get it.  However, there was still a gap and the top and bottom, even though the sides fit.  So, I dug through my ribbon stash and found the appropriate width that would cover that gap.



If we needed it, I cut a piece of poster board the size of the frame, I used my trusty Glue Dots once again to adhere the photo and the ribbon to it.  Just one in each corner and one in the middle of each side works great.



Then pop that entire thing behind the glass, put the backer board on and secure.  If you really want to get fancy you could miter the corners, but I found it fine to just cut straight edges.



For this fun photo of the cousins we used a wider polka dot ribbon.  I think this is our favorite photo on the whole wall!




I still have to find one more photo for the oval frame, and we've already tweaked the left side a little and moved a  few frames around.  That's the beauty of a random gallery wall...you can always squeeze one more thing in!



I hope you'll try using a ribbon in place of a mat sometime.  With hundreds of great designs available, you can easily add a big dose of personality to your gallery wall!

Do you have big plans for the weekend?  Tonight we're all going to see this guy:




Are you familiar with him?  If not, you'll be glad you watched.  Then you'll want to look at all of his clips on YouTube, including The Wife Song and Hand Raising and Sanitizer.  I promise.  Your family can watch with you too!

Have a great weekend!

Linking up with:  Home Stories A to Z

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Thursday, January 23, 2014

STRIPES MAKE EVERYTHING BETTER


Thank you all so much for your kind words on my kitchen chairs makeover!  You guys seemed to love them as much as I do. Today's project is nothing earth shattering, but it made a difference in my space.

I painted a basket.


Our kitchen table ends up being command central, and about a year ago I bought this trunk style basket to keep in the corner to stash all of the computer chargers, cases, notebooks, devotionals, etc. that accumulate in that space.


It's served it's purpose very well, but it was a little boring and totally blended into the space.  Which isn't necessarily a bad thing, but I thought it needed a little more personality.

To accomplish the task, I used some leftover semi-gloss black paint and a small stiff brush, which got down into the crevices well.

I followed the lines of where the material was woven.  It didn't always turn out completely straight, but for the big picture it turned out good enough.  I started with the large band around the bottom,


and then added a smaller stripe above it.


It took two coats and probably about an hour to do, just because some of those edges were a bit tedious.  But, it was a perfect weekend activity while everyone else was consumed with football games!


Do you have a plain-jane accessory that could use a quick added detail to take it up a notch?

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Tuesday, January 21, 2014

SPOTTED LOUIS STYLE CHAIRS


As I hinted at last week, I'm happy to show you my first project of the new year today!  You all were so kind about the Louis style chairs that I found at TJ Maxx when I shared how I darkened the finish on them.  So, how do you like them now?


 This was a super easy project because I have a little secret...I didn't re-upholster anything!  Want to know how I did it?  With these little jewels...


All along, I was happy with the upholstery on these chairs, but you know I couldn't leave well enough alone.  However, I didn't want to disassemble the back to add a fun fabric, so I thought these might work.  Glue dots are easily found at most craft stores, and I used the "Super Strength, Multi-Use" variety.  It stated on the box that they could be used with textiles, so I thought I'd give it a try.

This was my method:  I used a piece of tissue paper to trace the back of the chair, and then used that for a pattern to cut out my fabric.  I tried to get it to fit exactly within the frame.  Then, I applied a glue dot about every 3-4 inches around the perimeter of the fabric, getting close to the edge.  Mash it down hard into the fabric so it will stay flat and smooth when you peel the paper back.

Next, affix the fabric to the back of the chair, pressing each spot where a glue dot is very firmly.  Finally, I used a thin braided trim to cover the edge.  I applied it with small dots of hot glue every few inches, making sure that I was gluing to the spotted fabric and not the original chair fabric (just in case I ever want to go back to the original).  Since this panel is tucked inside the frame of the chair, it never gets any wear so I expect this to hold up well.



And that's it!  I'm still surprised when I walk in the room and see them at the major impact it made in the space!



The spots on the chairs echo the polka dot walls on the other side of the kitchen, which I didn't take down after Christmas...I had a feeling I'd leave them up!


I've got two more additions planned in this little breakfast nook, and then I'll call it finished!  One is fast and easy, one will take me a while.  I'll keep you posted!


(See how I did a light refinish of the chairs here.)




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Friday, January 17, 2014

WINTER MANTLE


First of all, I am SO excited to be at 6th Street Design School today sharing my home tour!  I feel completely out of place among the amazingly talented designers she's featured in the past.  Are you familiar with Kirsten's blog?  She is a super sweet highly talented designer, and I know I've shown you this photo of her living room several times as inspiration for my bedroom drapery.  I've got the fabric ready and waiting!

6th Street Design School

If you're visiting from 6th Street, Welcome!  I'm so glad you're here and hope you enjoy looking around.

* * * * * * * * * * 

After the Christmas decorations came down and I lived with few accessories out for a few weeks, I'm slowly adding things back in.

When I thought about how I wanted to put the mantle back together, I felt like I needed to switch out the lamps that I've had on there forever.  I wanted something taller, and knew that a tall thin buffet lamp was probably what I needed.  So, I spent most of a morning this week stopping into 3-4 stores looking for a new pair.  I came up empty handed.

Then, I remembered that I had some lamps that have been out of my rotation for a while and I shopped the house!  I brought the striped shade lamps in to try, and they worked!


I might still keep an eye out for something different, but these are working for now.  Also, after having the gigantic silver tray wreath up for Christmas, my peacock mirror seems a little small.  I might consider something bigger if I come across a great deal, but I don't know that I could give this one up!


I wanted to keep the mantle very simple, so I added my new "Hold Your Horses" print, a bust that I found at Ross and sprayed gold, and a succulent.


I bought the print during the Black Friday sale, along with the "Hey Y'all".  Of course, I had to have a splash of green on the mantle so I sprayed the frame with Rustoleum's Meadow Green.  And isn't that girl rocking the Amelia necklace from Wrist Soiree?  One of my favorite Christmas gifts!


Speaking of the frames, if you follow me on Instagram, you saw the back of my vehicle loaded down with frames a few days ago.  Michaels has a great group on clearance: $4 for the 8x10, $6 for the 11x14, and $8 for the 16x20.  They already have a nice white mat too!


On my last trip to Ikea a few weeks ago, I considered buying several Ribba frames for a gallery wall I want to do in my bedroom, but even at Ikea that would have added up quickly.  So thankful that I came across these others that are very similar, but way less than half the price!

So the lessons for today:  Shop your house, get friendly with spray paint, and be patient for good deals!  :)

Tonight we're celebrating my boy who turned 13 last weekend and heading to my girl's first basketball game tomorrow.  Here's a sneak peek of what's coming next week...my first project of 2014!


For some great weekend reading, don't forget to go visit Kirsten at 6th Street Design School!  Have a good one, friends!

Linking up with: Primitive and Proper

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Wednesday, January 15, 2014

THE BEST OATMEAL RAISIN COOKIES


You know my love of color, pattern, and black and white, so it should be no surprise that growing up I loved Mary Engelbreit designs...from the calendars, to note pads, to prints...I even subscribed to her magazine for a few years.


Years ago, from one of those magazines, I clipped the best oatmeal raisin cookie recipe.  I haven't made them in a while, but yesterday was chilly and called for comfort food so I made a batch for the kids' after school snack.


This is not a particularly "healthy" version, but a few changes could  be made to the recipe, like using whole wheat flour, adding flax seed, using whole oats, etc., to make it a little bit better.

Mary Engelbreit Magazine Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

3 eggs, well beaten                          1 cup raisins
1 tsp. vanilla                                      1 cup butter, softened
1 1/3 c. brown sugar, packed        3/4 c. granulated sugar
2 1/2 c. flour                                     1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground cinnamon                2 tsp. baking soda
2 c. quick cook oatmeal                 3/4 c. chopped pecans, optional

I truly believe this is the secret to this recipe being so yummy...


the raisins are soaked in an egg/vanilla mixture for an hour before hand to plump them up.

Combine eggs, raisins, and vanilla in bowl and cover.  Let stand for 1 hour.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Cream together butter and sugars.  Add flour, salt, cinnamon, and baking soda.  Mix well.  Add raisin mixture, oatmeal, and optional chopped nuts.  Dough will seem dry.  Drop by tablespoonfuls onto an ungreased cookie sheet about 2" apart.


Bake for 10-12 minutes until lightly browned.  Cool on rack.



Linking up with:  Home Stories A to Z

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