Monthly Archives

November 2011

Home Decor/ Interior Design Uncategorized

Whoa.

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  • November 30, 2011

That was my reaction when I walked in from work yesterday to see our new sectional in the living room.

Let me back up for a second. We had been saving money for a new house since before we even got married, and one of the things we wanted for the new house was a quality couch. The one we had in our last house was just a cheap buy and it wasn’t holding up so well after a year of regular use. So we decided we would use the old one upstairs in our bonus/media/entertainment/man cave room (is that enough titles for ya?)  and buy a nicer one for downstairs in the living room. And we knew from loving our old sectional so much that we would definitely want another. For us, sectionals are just far more functional than the traditional couch/loveseat combo. JP and I both love to stretch out and watch TV and there’s nothing better than a sectional for that!

But for any of you that have gone couch hunting before know, it is far from an easy task! Finding something that is comfortable, stylish, and most importantly, affordable is quite the daunting task. I knew I wanted a gray upholstery that had more of a tailored look versus the overstuffed, slouchy look. Our other couch was more of the slouchy look and drove me nuts..I was constantly having to fluff the pillows and put them all back in place.

I looked online at all of my favorite stores, but couldn’t find anything cheap enough, and I was a little leery of ordering our couch online..I really wanted to be able to sit in it and test it out. We looked at all of our local furniture stores and I couldn’t find anything that I liked. Then, by chance one day, we were down in Indy and we went to a place called Haverty’s. Neither of us had ever been there, but we were getting desperate.

In short, the clouds parted, the angels sang, and we found a couch we both loved. And lucky for us they were running a Columbus Day sale (did I mention we purchased this baby before we had even officially closed on the house? We’re daredevils, I know.) that saved us a little over $400! And the best part? Because we saved so much, I was able to get this fabric ottoman that I fell in LOVE with, and the total still came up to less than what we would’ve paid for just the couch at regular price!

So you ready to see it?

BAM! Pretty major, right?! Sorry for all the whacked out color balancing in these pics..I was losing my light fast.


This baby is HUGE. We had 5 people sitting on it last night, and not a single one of us were even touching each other. AMAZING! And see this seat over here?

They call it a ‘cuddle corner’ (1..2..3..awwwww) and JP and I can easily curl up together in it. And the best part is that it’s right by the fireplace, which makes it extra cozy 😉

And how about that upholstered ottoman? As soon as I saw her, I knew that was the direction I wanted to go with in our living room..gray, white, and green. It’s a neutral enough palette that I can bring in other accent colors and change them out on a whim. For now, I’m thinking navy blue 🙂

I could tell as soon as I sat down, that this couch was really high quality and it’s ultra comfortable…holla!

This room is far from done, though. Here’s what I can come up with off the top of my head:

1. Add lots of colorful throw pillows
2. New drapes that tie in the green
3. Art for the TV wall
4. Buy a rug
5. Paint the TV stand white?
6. New floor lamp for behind cuddle corner
7. Find larger tray for fabric ottoman
8. Small side table/garden stool beside cuddle corner
9. Paint mantel white (and probably trim as well – but that’s a HUGE project and I’m mucho intimidated)
10. Art or mirror over the console table

So it should only take me..ohhhh…5 years or so to complete everything on that list. Guess I better get to workin’.

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DIY Uncategorized

Penny For Your Thoughts

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  • November 28, 2011

It’s the MOST wonderful tiiiime of the yeeearrrrr!!

Finally, it’s OK to talk about Christmas! I’ve had the music going for a few weeks now, but I did hold off on bringing out any decor until Thanksgiving was over. But once we got home on Saturday, all bets were off. I went Christmas craft crazy and got quite a few projects done, and I can’t wait to show them all to you!

I’ve been dreaming up Christmas vignettes for weeks, and I knew I wanted to get some letters to spell out the word ‘snow.’ So when I was at JoAnn’s on Black Friday with my sister-in-laws and saw that all of their wooden letters were $1 off, I took it as a sign from Santa that it was time to make this project happen!

I knew I wanted them to be a little blingy, but I didn’t want to just use glitter so when I saw this image on Pinterest, my wheels, they were a-turnin’.

via

I originally thought about using dimes or nickels, but quickly ix-nayed that since it would make the project 5-10x more expensive than using pennies. Go ahead, call me a cheapskate 🙂

The only problem I was having was that the pennies didn’t give me nice even coverage of my letters, like you see in the picture above. There was still a lot of white showing. So I ran out and got a bottle of bronze acrylic paint, which really helped to disguise it against the coins.

And then it was as simple as gluing on my pennies. I didn’t try to pick out ones that were all shiny or all tarnished, I wanted a nice mixture of both. And in the same vein, I didn’t put them all ‘heads up’ or ‘tails up’…I just grabbed them randomly to try and keep things varied.

I LOVE the way they turned out, it was exactly what I was wanting!

Have you guys done any Christmas crafting recently? I’d love to see!

 

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Uncategorized

Best In Show

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  • November 26, 2011

Hello all, hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving! Are you all recovered from your food induced comas? I am for the most part, and I’m in full on Christmas mode. I’ve been Christmas crafting all day and I couldn’t be happier! But, for now, let’s take a look at some of my favorite projects from around the blogosphere this week!

The fabulous Kate at Centsational Girl DIYed some faux bois vases that are SO cute! Such a clever idea!

I’m a sucker for a herringbone pattern so when I saw this desk, I nearly died. Ann Marie over at Twice Lovely did a fantastic job!

I always love Courtney’s DIY projects over at Little Glass Box and this lampshade she made recently was no exception. She used…get this…zip ties! And it looks amazing!!

Such wonderful inspiration! I’m back to Christmas crafting land now…see you guys Monday 🙂

P.S. – I recently added the Google Friend Connect widget to my sidebar, so join my circle!

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Home Decor/ Interior Design Uncategorized

Ikea To The Rescue!

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  • November 23, 2011

Since we moved into our new house, JP has been on a major hunt for bookcases for his office. He wanted something a little fancier than just your average rectangle with shelves in it, but all of the super stylish options we found online were wayyyy out of our budget. Enter Ikea. That wonderfully magical place where I could easily spend an entire day.

At first, he balked at the idea. He had been burned by Ikea once before. A while back, we went in search of a desk for him and he found one that he liked, but alas when we got down to the warehouse, a couple of the pieces he needed were out of stock. He was a man scorned. But I convinced him that this time would be different. I can be verrrry persuasive when home decor is at stake..muahahaha!!!

So we made the trip up to Chicago (and btw, Ikea, when the heck are you gonna put one in Indianapolis?!? It would make things so much more convenient!) and easily found something that fit the bill of what we were looking for. And it came in the form of the Billy bookcases. Simple, stylish, affordable, and you can customize them ’til your hearts content. Perfecto!

We chose one of the normal bookcases and then two slender bookcases with glass front doors, all in a white finish. Thank the Lord we drove my SUV because even with the back seats laid down, we almost couldn’t fit it all in the car. We had to push up the passenger seat as far as it would go and stack the boxes behind it. So I had to make the 2 hour car ride home squeezed on top of the back seat. Oh, the sacrifices I’ll make for a trip to Ikea-land.

I’ll spare you guys all of the gory details on how we put them together, but let me assure you they were gory. {Sidenote to Ikea: Would it kill you guys to put words in your instructions?! I know you’re trying to be all Swedish and Euro-cool, but by the end of putting our bookshelves together, I wanted to punch your little cartoon guys in the face and say “WHY WON’T YOU SPEAK TO ME?!?!” Seriously, I wonder how many marriages have ended over trying to put Ikea furniture together. Ok, rant over.} In all seriousness, the furniture assembly wasn’t the most terrible part. We had a terrible time trying to find a stud (besides my husband) to secure the bookcase to. It was the weirdest thing..we could find the stud behind the bookcase but when we tried to locate it above the bookcase, it disappeared. So we just ran out and got some heavy duty drywall anchors.

A few hours and a lot of sweat and frustration later, we had our bookshelves in working order. I kind of felt like how I imagine I woman that just had a baby would feel. You went through a lot of hours of tough labor, but once that baby (or bookshelf) makes its’ first appearance, it’s all worth it. And I also have a feeling that once I actually experience labor, I will no longer compare it to putting a bookshelf together.

But anyhoo, I know all you guys just really wanna see are the finished product, right?! So without further ado, our glorious bookshelves…

JP has A LOT of books, so these shelves really will be used for mostly books and not just decorative stuff. But of course he worked in a few of his ‘masculine’ decor items 🙂

For those of you who are observant, you’ll notice that the very top shelf has the wooden edge facing out. And I can’t even describe to you the amount of stomping around the room that was done when I saw that. C’est la vie. Nothing a little white paint can’t fix..anyone know a shade that matches Ikea furniture well?

We tried to do a little color coordinating with the books..I’ve always loved that look when I see it in magazines.

The shelves are the perfect place to display all of our Leatherbound Classics books. Have you guys seen them at Barnes & Noble? Each one is a piece of art in its’ own right..I’m a sucker for them!

Have any of you put together any Ikea furniture lately? Was it frustrating for you? Or am I the only one who can’t seem to read their instructions?? Please say no.

{Sidenote: Who’s been watching the Sing-Off? I was so sad to see Afro Blue go, but I L.O.V.E. Pentatonix..they absolutely blow my mind!!}

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Parties/Events Uncategorized

That’s So Cheesy

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  • November 21, 2011

Another Monday, blah. But at least there’s only 3 work days in this week..so really today is like Wednesday! My mood just increased greatly 🙂

Last Thursday, we had a bunch of friends over for a pre-Thanksgiving get together. Since most holidays are spent with family, it was nice just to have an evening with friends before all the holiday madness begins!

I didn’t want to do anything too fancy in the way of food, but I wanted something a little more than just your run-of-the-mill cold cut sandwiches. I looked to the hosting queen (Martha Stewart) for ideas and came across the idea for a grilled cheese bar, which I thought would be perfect!

Let me tell you, it was awesome! And honestly, it was SO easy to put together. We had several options of bread, cheese, and fixings along with a couple of side dishes and everyone loved it! It was so fun to create our own sandwiches and it kept things really low key. I hate it when you host a party, but you’re so busy trying to serve food and keep everything going that you don’t get to actually enjoy the wonderful party you created. And there was absolutely NONE of that with this party. It was fantastic!

Here you can see all of our breads and cheeses..and honestly that just scratches the surface. There are so many types of cheese out there, it’s unbe-cheese-able! Sorry, I couldn’t resist 🙂

And to keep in line with the ‘cheesy’ theme I made a cheeseball and we had cheesecake for dessert. I’m nothing if not one to stick to a theme. And I also had some tomato soup that we served up as a side. I figured cheese soup would be awkward.

Here’s the whole spread with all the fixin’s…we had baby spinach, avocado, tomato, onion, bacon, and ham but you could use pretty much anything!  It was a really fun night and I’m thinking we might make it an annual thing..my head is spinning with cheese-themed decor 😉

 

 

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Uncategorized

Best In Show

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  • November 19, 2011

I’m constantly amazed by all of the inspiration, tips, and tutorials we have access to via the world wide web. Here are some of my favorites this week!

Debating whether or not it’s economical to use Annie Sloan’s Chalk Paint? Shaunna over at Perfectly Imperfect shares an awesome breakdown here.

Rhoda over at Southern Hospitality shared a home tour of Sara from August Fields. I’d never heard of Sara’s blog before, but I’m definitely adding it to my reader now! Her home is absolutely beautiful and I LOVE this bunkroom she created for her boys!!

With holiday parties right around the corner, I’m always looking for an easy sweet treat I can make. Chelsea’s Oreo Truffles over at Two Twenty One definitely fit the bill!

Mmm, don’t they look delicous?! I’m gonna go rummage around for something sweet now..enjoy the rest of your weekend!

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Shopping/Thrifting/Fab Finds Uncategorized

Fab Finds!

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  • November 17, 2011

This past weekend, my sister-in-law and I hit up a couple of my favorite local antique shops and I just wanted to show you guys a little of what caught my eye!

How cute are these benches? I picture them at the foot of the bed in our guest room, recovered in a beautiful fabric. They were $45 a piece..not terrible, but not quite cheap enough for me to scoop them up.

This vintage laundry cart reminded me of one I saw on WUSLU a while back. I would love to have one to hold throw blankets!

I was thisclose to taking this desk home with me. It was $68 and I loved the chalkboard top and simple lines,  but it was kind of shaky so I left it behind.

I’ve always loved papasan chairs, and for $35 this woven one was a great deal!

This retro dining set was super cool. Such a fresh color, and I love all the scrolly detail! The little note on top of the table explained that they had saved the whole set from the trash and were able to strip down the seats to uncover the original fabric! Groovy.

I spent a solid 20 minutes staring at this aluminum chest, trying to figure out how I could use it. It was only $27 and I absolutely LOVE the flower detail on top. I’m thinking you could somehow make a base for it and use it as a coffee table or storage bench?

I’m always attracted to bird cages and I was really digging the size of this one. I think it would be awesome if you could wire it up and use it as a light!

These old wooden lockers were AH-MAZE-ING. They would be so awesome in a mudroom or entryway. And if I had an extra thousand bucks lying around, they would’ve been mine!

GoodNESS this mid century modern sideboard was beautiful. And guess what? It’s coming home with meeee! It was a steal at only $100 and I can’t wait to bring it home with us this weekend!

Have any of you guys done any thrifting lately? Find anything good??

 

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Domestic Stuff Uncategorized

Breakfast of Champions

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  • November 14, 2011

If you follow me on Twitter, you may have seen this tweet a few days ago:


If you don’t follow me on Twitter, then what are you doing with your life?!

What are these breakfast cookies I speak of? Ah, I’m so glad you asked.

Recently, I tried a new recipe for Ranger Cookies. I’d never had them before, and I was itching to find a cookie recipe that I could make my ‘signature’ cookie. You know how some moms make “the best chocolate chip cookies ever” or “the best peanut butter cookies ever”? Well, I wanted to find my “best cookie ever” so that whenever we have kids, they could be all “Psh, my mom makes the BEST RANGER COOKIES EVER!” Uh, well…that will not be happening. Unless my kids have a super high infinity for oatmeal in cookie form.


Which is basically what these cookies turned out to be. They don’t taste sweet whatsoever; instead, it’s more like you’ve taken a fist full of raw oats and shoved them in your mouth.

I let JP be the first to try them. He took one bite and looked up at me, utterly confused about what he was experiencing. He said, “Is this some new kind of granola bar?” And I busted up laughing.

And thus, the breakfast cookie was born.

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Uncategorized

Best In Show

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  • November 12, 2011

Seems like it hasn’t been a week since our last roundup, but here we are again..it’s Saturday and it’s time for Best In Show!

Wowza! Check out this kitchen makeover at Pennies A Day Decorating. You won’t believe the before!

 

I’m really digging Shelley’s simple Thanksgiving display over at House of Smiths. Head over there for some easy Thanksgiving decorating ideas!

Looking for a quick and cute hostess gift for all those upcoming holiday parties? Take a look at what Beckie from Infarrantly Creative did with a dollar store tin!

Enjoy the rest of your weekend, lemon-droppers!

 

 

 

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Before & After Uncategorized

Wax On, Wax Off

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  • November 10, 2011

Before we moved, we bought a new dining table and chairs off of Craigslist. It was a very solid, light reddish toned wood (I’m thinking oak?) but I knew right away that I wanted to do something different with them. And it’s only taken me a little over a month to finally do it..pretty good, right?!

Ever since I saw this tutorial over at Isabella & Max Rooms, I’ve been dying to try out liming wax. So when we picked up a new dining table and chairs from CL a couple months ago, I knew exactly what I wanted to do to the table! We needed a small, round table that would better fit in our eat-in kitchen in the new house. It was a really high quality set and it came with 6 chairs and 2 leaves so that we can extend the table when we have company. Kachow!

 

So the first step was to strip the old finish off the table. Thus begins the first of many trial-and-errors with this project. I originally thought I could take the easy way out and just use a deglosser. No dice. It didn’t take off any of the actual stain, just the glossy sheen. So when I put the liming wax over it, wayyyy too much of the original stain still showed through.

My next move was to use my electric sander (yayy power tools!) and sand it down to the bare wood. It worked well for the table-top, since it was flat but not so much on the curvy, fluted parts of the table (like the column base).

JP helped quite a bit with the sanding because I am a puny woman-child with spaghetti arms.

SO the third and final component of the stripping extravaganza (which sounds a lot saucier than it really is) was to use a paint and varnish remover. I chose Motsenbocker’s Lift Off..partly because of some good reviews I had read and partly because of its super awesome name. I just glopped it on all of the un-sanded, curvy parts of the table with an old paintbrush and waited about 30 minutes for it to do its thang. Then I used a stainless steel wire brush to remove it. I was actually pretty shocked at how well it worked. It took off all of the previous finish and left me with bare wood with very little effort at all! Yippee for paint strippers with vaguely German sounding names! Now there’s a sentence I’d never thought I’d type.

From there on out, it was smooth sailing. ….HA! I wish. You guys should know by now that very little I do turns out how I want it to on the first try! Long story short..I applied the liming wax (I used the Briwax brand, which I ordered from Amazon) and it just wasn’t giving me the effect I wanted. It was definitely a step in the right direction, but still a long ways off from what I was picturing.

So, I did some googling and found this blog post at Perfectly Imperfect (how did I not know about this blog before..she does some seriously amazing stuff!) which gives some AWESOME tips on whitewashing and dry brushing furniture. I decided whitewashing with a paint mixture was a better way to go for the look I was wanting to achieve so I mixed up about 1/4 cup of paint with a little less than 1/4 cup of water to give something slightly thicker than a 50:50 mixture.

It’s hard to tell from the picture, but it has a consistency sort of like milk. And the second I painted it on, I knew I had chosen right. It. Looked. Awesome.

You can see that the liming wax basically just takes to the grain of the table, which still allows the coloring of the wood to show through. I wanted my table to look more white overall but still allow the grain to show a bit through the finish, which is just what the whitewashing achieved.

And it took me all of 20 minutes to do the whole table. Jackpot! I didn’t even use anywhere close to that 1/2 cup..it didn’t take very much at all to get the look I wanted. And as for technique, it’s not exactly something that takes a lot of skill (obviously, since I was able to do it)..basically I just barely dipped my brush in the cup (a little goes a long way here) and painted it on a small section, making sure to try and spread it out fairly evenly. Then I waited about 10 seconds and wiped off any excess. It’s seriously SO easy. And before long, I had a table that looked exactly like what I was picturing!

Sorry the picture isn’t the greatest..it was nighttime and I had to use my phone because my camera charger has gone missing and it died on me! But I assure it is beautiful!! I used the Varathane sealer that she recommended in the above post to protect the finish. And because everyone loves a good before and after:

Well, hello there you beautiful thang, you..you’re lookin’ mighty fiiiine. Work it, girl. 

I like to compliment my furniture when I feel like it’s looking particularly snazzy. Don’t judge.

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