Category Archives: Home Decorating

We may actually be done with the nursery

It’s been a long time coming, but I think the nursery is just about FINISHED!  Of course I will continuously add little things here and there (like his name tiles and a birth stats painting) but I’m not going to count that.

First up is the dresser.  I scoured Craigslist and Goodwill until I found the dresser of my nursery dreams.  It needed to be long enough be hold the changing pad and diapering paraphernalia and tall enough so Jonathan and I wouldn’t have to hunch over when changing the boy.   The dresser that finally fit the bill was from a kind Craigslister up in Michigan, for $75.  It was kind of an oak finish, but I

It was originally kind of an oak finish, but I knew I wanted it white to match the crib.  So it sat and sat and sat in the garage until Aunt Terry and Mom could come out and paint it for me.

It turned out pretty awesome, don’t you think?  I painted the existing knobs.  I gave Jonathan a choice of many different designs including dinosaurs and monsters,  but who would have thunk it…he picked numbers.  They turned out pretty cute.  Mom sprayed a few coats of high gloss clear coat and they looked like they came from a store.

Now on to a cozy place for bedtime stories and late night feedings.

The rocker was another thrifty find…$15 at Goodwill.  It was a lovely shade of greenish yellow, but still super comfy.  I wanted to reupholster it, but I’ve never tackled that before and needed some reinforcements.  So again, it sat and sat until Aunt Terry and Mom came to visit.  Since Aunt Terry has done chairs before Mom and I were just helpers.  I chose a canvas drop cloth from Home Depot as my fabric and it turned out great!

Of course the lamp was another Goodwill find, at $3 for the base and $2 for the shade.  Mom spray painted the base and I recovered the shade with a pretty fabric we picked up from Hobby Lobby.  The little dinosaur  next to the lamp was the first little toy I made for the baby.

Now, the artwork in this corner. I repurposed an old canvas by having Jonathan spray paint the same orange from the lamp over top of the original painting.  The original painting had some dark lines in it and ridges from my brushstrokes and I wanted to camouflage as much of that as possible, so using watered down white glue and white tissue paper I decoupaged over the whole orange surface.  I found silhouette of a triceratops on clip art and used that to make the outline for the dinos.  I’m really proud of the finished product as it came out even better than I anticipated.

I don’t know where I originally saw the idea for rain gutter bookshelves, but it stayed in my brain until I had a place to put them.  I used the tutorial here for installing them.  

The whole project was less than $20 and I installed them in under an hour.  

The crib nook is the final stop on our nursery tour.  This first picture is a little older, and since I took it, the mobile has been lowered significantly, a mattress added to the crib, and artwork hung next to the window.  I’d go take a new picture now, but frankly I’m tired and don’t want to.

I constructed the mobile for FREE with paint chips from Home Depot, some card stock I had on hand left over from our wedding, thread, and an old embroidery hoop.  I punched out a bunch of circles from the paint chips and card stock and put them back to back.  I stitched the line of circles together on my sewing machine and attached each string to the hoop.  Easy peasy.  I can’t take credit for the idea though…I found it here.

The artwork in this part of the room was created by everyone who attended the baby shower my sister had for me.  She had the great idea to have everyone paint a small square tile with the colors of the nursery.  To make them more uniform and fun, we had everyone use tape to mask off areas for solid colors.  I put them all together, mounted them on foam board and trimmed the edges with orange ribbon.  It looks great in his room and it will be a nice reminder of all the people who loved the baby before he was even born!

I hope you’ve enjoyed your tour of the nursery!  All it really needs now is a baby…three more weeks!


Posted by on June 15, 2012 in Home Decorating, Life


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A comfy place to sit

Last fall I started my mission to make the sunroom a cozy place to relax. Here is what is sort of looked like before.  Two wicker chairs from IKEA and a hammock courtesy of my parents.  I wanted to put the hammock on the deck, but they don’t call this place “Blowing” Green for nothing…that hammock would be gone in an instant!

 So, I started by painting the walls.  They were a yucky beige color and I wanted a nice cool blue.  I used some of the paint from the reading room and lightened it up with some white.  You can see my color tests and the lovely pattern on the vinyl walls here.

You can see Olie tried to help too…

After about two days of priming and painting the walls as well as adding a few pieces of trim the color was done.  

The light fixture out there was hideous. I happened upon an abandoned wall sconce-like fixture at Goodwill, painted it up with some Stainless Steel finish spray paint, added a $0.50 glass shade (Goodwill, of course) and ended up with a pretty nifty little light fixture for under $2.00.  The square piece that juts out happens to be part of the siding that was originally on this side of the house before the sunroom was added.  It couldn’t be removed, so I painted it white and added some quarter-round trim.  Let me tell you, without a mitre box, making the corners of the trim was a feat.

From this:(I had already started to dismantle it before the picture…trust me, it was awful.)

To this:

We picked up a little bistro table set on sale at Menards at the end of last summer season.  It’s actually a bar, but who cares!

Last but not least, we needed a comfy place to sit.  We bought the wooden couch frame at Habitat for Humanity Restore for $10 or $15 bucks and it sat in the sun room for ever. As the weather got warmer and warmer I got  increasingly frustrated that I hadn’t yet made it comfy with some cushions.  I knew it would be crazy expensive to by foam, batting, and fabric to make the cushions, so I scoured Craigslist until I found a new futon mattress for sale for $20.  So what if it was in Gainesville, Virginia?  Let’s face it, the DC Metro/Northern Virginia area has the best stuff on Craigslist.  My wonderful friend Sarah picked it up for me and I got it from her at my baby shower last week.

On Wednesday I set out to dissect it and turn it into cushions for my couch.  I used a 9′ x 11′ canvas drop cloth from Home Depot as my fabric and a few hours later I had a couch!  I make it sound easy, but really I agonized over measurements and mitered corners.  I thought the cover(s) would be perfect because I painstakingly planned.  Nope…I started with one big cushion and cover for the bottom and it was AWFUL!  The cover was too big for the cushion, the cushion too big for the couch.  So, ended up winging the rest of it…I cut the single cushion into two, cut the single cover into two and it worked so much better!  The rest followed suit and I had a finished product I am happy with.  Jonathan came home after three or four hours at the office and I got a “Wow…wow!”

It only took eight months, but we now have a functional sun room. There are a few more little
additions to come. Maybe something to prop one’s feet on perhaps?  I’ll keep you posted!


Posted by on May 18, 2012 in Home Decorating


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The Fall-ification of a House

So, I have hinted around that I was attempting to decorate for the season.  Over the last month or so I’ve slowly added fall touches to the house.  I thought I would share them with you.  As always, I tried my best to spend as little money as possible, even if it meant “recycle bin diving” at the local recycle center.  Of course, being me, I asked permission first!

We’ll start with the front door.  The front porch isn’t looking fallish yet due to the lack of pumpkins.  Hopefully we will get some soon and I can complete the front of the house.  Anyhow…the front door.  I wanted to make a wreath.  I have been checking out fall wreaths online and found one I liked over at HomeStoriesAtoZ so I thought I’d give it a whirl but keep it simple.

I found the wreath at Goodwill covered in awful fake flowers. I ripped them off and was left with a simple grapevine wreath.

I made the flowers from felt and fleece.  My Hobby Lobby didn’t have a great selection of felt colors, so I checked out the fleece and picked up the orange and gold.

Aren’t they cute?

Right inside the front door is my little refinished pedestal table.   I think this is now my Goodwill spot…the table is Goodwill, along with the little crate and wreath ($0.50 each).  I added a little jute frame I already had and filled it with the first colorful leaf from our yard.

Who knows how long the leaf will stay colorful.  First I tried ironing it between wax paper.  While that was ok in elementary school, I wasn’t cool with the look.  So, I removed the leaf from the wax paper and simply ironed it between fabric to completely dry it out.  It’s been about two weeks, so I think I may have found a good method!  Finally, I added a delicious smelling Apple Cider votive to complete the vignette.  ( I am silently chastising myself for the use of the word vignette but I guess if the word fits, use it).

Next up, the mantel…

This was a conglomeration of things.  I am finding this is how many people decorate for fall.  They look around their house for anything fall-like and go with it.  So…

I made the ceramic canister back in college and though the ochre glaze and red clay worked well.  I loved the idea of glass bottles (thanks recycling center) wrapped with twine, so I went with it.  First I tried the glass cutting technique of wrapping a nail-polish-remover-soaked string around it and lighting it on fire.  It sounds way more dramatic that it actually was.  I couldn’t get it to work, so I stuck with the whole bottle and opted to wrap them in different ways.

The little white “barrels” are doctored up cardboard canisters from the pantry.  I really wanted some twigs or wheat to put in them, but I couldn’t get the nerve to walk up to someone’s brush pile and snag some.  I think I’ll have to plan a nature walk and take some from the woods.  We shall see…

Next up, squishy pumpkins.  I am still not sure how I feel about them, but they are kind of cute.  I saw the idea over at Bungalow.  I tea stained some flour sack cloths that I pilfered from a closet in my old school building that was being torn down.  Of course I had permission to pilfer…

Finally, the last fall project was a little raised dish of pumpkins for a centerpiece.  I am not satisfied with it as a centerpiece, so I may switch it out for a wooden pumpkin I got for zip zilch nada at Kohls with my $10 off coupon.  Anyway, it’s on the table now, so I ought to show you…

The dish is a little glass bowl I glued to a candlestick…courtesy of Goodwill for $0.75.  The pumpkins were an ugly fake orange, so I spray painted them cream and aged them a bit with watered down brown paint.  The original stem was lovely green plastic, so I ripped it out and hot glued some mulch in its place.

I L-O-V-E the pumpkins, I am just not crazy about the whole thing as a centerpiece.  I threw in some extra felt flowers from the wreath project, but that’s not cutting it.  Hopefully when I go out on my stick finding mission, I can collect some acorns to fill the bowl.

The grand total for all of my projects was less than $10, with the most expensive thing being the wreath at Goodwill for $3…still cheaper than one from the craft store.  While I know I am not finished with my fall decor, I’m good for now.  I don’t have anything else around the house to utilize, and there is no fund for crafts in our We-Just-Moved-And-Bought-A-House-Budget.  So, until nature hands me some more inspiration I’m on pause.


Posted by on October 4, 2011 in Home Decorating, Life


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A Clack (a.k.a A Lack Clock)

So two days ago it was in the high 80s and I was splashing around in my parents’ pool in Pennsylvania with the cutest little two year old in the world.  Now, it is in the 60s and the wind is whipping by.  As I type I’m wearing jeans, long sleeves and fuzzy slippers.  It.  Is.  Amazing.  I love fall!

Before I left for Pennsylvania, I whipped up a few projects and would like to share one today.  We had an old IKEA Lack tabletop that was stained and lacking (no pun intended) legs.  I saw an IKEA hack in which someone created a clock out of this same kind of table top so I knew I could do it as well.  All I needed was some fun fabric and a clock mechanism. 

First, I figured out where I wanted the clock to be positioned on the square, then drilled an appropriately sized hole through the tabletop.  Next on the back side, I used a large drill bit to open up the back hole big enough to fit the clock mechanism.  It turns out the tabletop was pretty much hollow so my drill bit wasn’t necessary. Therefore I had to whip out my Dremel tool to open up the hole.  

Then I positioned the fabric and flipped the whole deal over so the fabric and table were upside-down.  I pulled the fabric taut over the wood and stapled it into place.   I was thinking the fabric might fray, so I folded the edge of the fabric under before stapling.

I felt around for the small hole on the front and used an x-acto to cut the fabric.  

All that was left to do was insert the clock mechanism and follow the instructions on how to attach the hands. Finito!  And the finished product:

I’ve been staring at this living room wall for weeks now and have been thinking I didn’t really like it.  With the new clock and a few change ups for photos and lamps I think I like it.  Check out the before and after.

Ugh…don’t like at all…

Much better

What do you think?


Posted by on September 6, 2011 in Home Decorating, Life


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Our 2 month old house…

On this day two months ago I set out with my Corolla full of plants and a flat screen tv, bound for Ohio.  A lot has changed over the last sixty days.  Here’s a look at what the house is looking like now after being lived in for a little bit:

The kitchen:This is a pretty different kitchen than the one we bought.  We ripped out the old wood-trimmed formica countertops and had granite installed.  With the counter came a new sink and faucet.  It actually makes dishwashing somewhat enjoyable!  We brightened the paint color from sage to celery…hmmm, sounds a bit like Thanksgiving.  I changed out all the brass knobs to brushed nickel.  We bought the new knobs before we realized how simple and cheap it was to spray paint them!  The floors are the final difference…old stained linoleum to new linoleum.

The dining room:As I’ve mentioned before we didn’t want a formal dining room and the dining are off the kitchen is more than big enough to accomodate the “breakfast table” Jonathan grew up with.  The bookshelf in the background was a little country style cabinet we picked up at Goodwill.  It had scalloped trim and doors with heart-shaped cut outs.  Very much not my style.  But, the price was right and changes easy to make.  Now it’s just a cute little blue bookshelf that holds our cookbooks.  I still need to refinish it as there are raw wood parts glaring at me from the bits and pieces I ripped off it.  It’s good for now!

The living room:So, you’ve seen the blue wall and a little bit of the mantel, but here’s the rest of the living room.  We bought a new reclining sofa and “wide seat” from Ashley furniture and we absolutely love them.  They are super comfortable leather just the right size for two tall folks like us. The rug, bookshelf and purple stool are from IKEA.  As for the stool we decided on something a little non-traditional for the side table.  My aunt found the stool at IKEA and we promptly walked it over to one of the living room set ups to see if it would work as a table.  Obviously it did, but the color didn’t.

Unfinished wood + primer + 3 coats of Glidden Bright Black Raspberry=

The craft room:Many of you know I finally got myself a craft room after four years of using the dining room table and plastic storage bins under the breakfast bar in our old townhouse.  It has been wonderful to work in there and not have to put everything away for dinner.  It seriously expedited the construction of my latest quilt.  I’ll share more about that later…after it finds a home in its recipient’s house.  Though this isn’t the best picture, it gives you an idea of what’s going on in there.

I hope you’ve enjoyed the tour around the more finished parts of the house.  When the other two bedrooms are finished I’ll be sure to share them!


Posted by on August 19, 2011 in Home Decorating


Pillows…time to accessorize

So, while it has been quite a few days since I’ve written anything, that doesn’t mean I haven’t been working. Most of my time lately has been spend quilting while watching old episodes of My So Called Life on Netflix instant.  Kind of an interesting combination I believe.  Other than quilting, I did change up all the cabinet pulls from the bathroom by spray painting them like I did on my Jewelry hanger.  Instant update for free, since I already had the paint.

I also made some pillows for the living room and dining room.  I borrowed some creativity from Alicia at Thrifty and Chic, to make three pillow covers:

The awesome polka-dotted one was not made by me. Mom bought it for me at Big Lots 🙂  The green one, however, I made and LOVE.  It is my absolute favorite! The cool thing about these are that they are covers, well, kind of shams really, so I can change them out as often as I want.  Which quite possibly might be whenever I find cheap fun fabric on sale!

See the flap?

This orange one is the same shape as the green one, and I think that pattern is pretty cool.  Thank you Hobby Lobby for the fabric!!

Finally, the fabric for this little green pillow comes from a consignment shop in my home town.  It was a table cloth of some sort, but when I saw it last summer I loved it and new I would eventually turn it into pillows to brighten up our house.  Brightening up our house doesn’t seem to be a concern of mine now!

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Posted by on July 27, 2011 in Home Decorating


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Two IKEA hacks…

Hack #1: Bedside Tables

I was hoping to find some really cool tables for the bedroom at Goodwill that I could change up and make our own.  Three Goodwill stores and two Salvation Army stores later I was empty handed on the bedside table front.  Off to IKEA for a four and a half hour journey through the depths of furniture wonderland.  We admired the a few small tables but none of them were coming in within my ideal budget until we came upon the Lack tables.  I’ve owned numerous Lack side tables and like the simple shape, but I wanted something a little more polished.  I’ve seen this same hack at Ikea Hacker, so I knew it could be done.  I purchased four Lack side tables in black-brown (two for each finished product) at $9.99 each.  I assembled two as per package instructions.  I then attached an extra table top to the bottom of each assembled table.  Done. Plain and simple!

Hack #2: Jewelry Display/Storage

Over the last few years I’ve really gotten into jewelry shopping and my little jewelry box wasn’t cutting it any more.  I saw and idea in a magazine in which necklaces and bracelets were hung from painted coat hooks attached to the back of the door.  I loved the idea, and definitely wanted to do this inside our closet, but I didn’t want to drill a bunch of holes in the wall.  So, during the pilgrimage to IKEA I checked out the As Is section and found a piece of black lacquered wood for $1.99 that was most likely a shelf of some sort.  I already had a ton of old brass drawer knobs from the kitchen, so I painted them with the same spray paint I used on my lamps.


I drilled holes where I wanted the jewelry to hang and painted the edges for a little color.  For the earring hangers I just strung fine gauge wire around two sets of knobs.









So, for $1.99 I ended up with a pretty nifty (and thrifty) place for my jewelry.


Posted by on July 14, 2011 in Home Decorating


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