Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Reader Mail: Furniture FaceLift

I have started a new topic on my blog where followers can email me for design advice.
Here is my first one from a young mother of 2 baby girls:

We don’t really have any money to buy any new furniture, but I have a bunch of wooden pieces that I am interested in repainting/refinishing but have never u have any tips? There are 4 pieces:
1. Chandelier- that I would love to spray paint but it has frosted glass so don’t know how to do it/if I can...
2. Console by the front door-I usually have baskets underneath to hold shoes
3. Ikea Closet by front door - so its particle board (same material as your awesome chest in your closet) so can it even be painted/spray painted???
4. Hutch by back door- So boring!

The short answer to this problem is spray paint and new hardware! You can revive anything with spray paint and it is quick and cheap. These days there are hundreds of different spray paints to choose from; different textures, colors, finishes, and they have special ones to use on plastic and metal. New hardware can make a piece; you can really change the whole look with this simple change.

This is what I envision for your facelift:



(Potential) After __________Apartment Therapy

Yes, you can spray paint a chandelier! Look at all these possibilies. You just need to remove the glass and decide what color you want to go for (you could also do white or a metallic if you don't want to go too wild).

Console Before

(Potential) Afters_________(JCPenney & Pottery Barn)

For a more formal look- go for a darker color like black or dark brown. Then add new hardware to finish the piece.
For a more casual look like the green console- try a distressed look with crackled spray paint. Crackle Creations kits have everything you will need.
But I think in your case I would go for the darker as I think it would be nice first thing as you walk in. I really believe this console can look like a million bucks!

Ikea Closet
(Potential) After
(pardon my illustration)

Yes, you can totally spray paint this! I would keep the console and closet the same color since they are very close to each other.

My best tip for this is to cover the frosted glass with cool wallpaper or fabric. (see my illustration example) Wallpaper is so beautiful right now and would really make this closet look like a million bucks. This example from Urban Outfitters sticks without any adhesive so you would just have to measure, cut and stick. There choices are pretty pricey but check out your local wallpaper store for bargains and scraps. You could also cover the glass with fabric but you would need glue and then I would say to cover the fabric edges with grommets to finish the look. Ikea actually has great fabrics that are very reasonable and fun.

These tricks will make this Ikea piece look expensive and unique.

(Potential) Afters ____________Laurel Street

________________Two Moms and a Girl

This one I would definitely distress if I were you. This will look awesome with crackle spray paint and cool antiqued hardware. You could go white, which always looks good or any other crackled color…I am loving distressed greens and blues. After you spray, you can use sandpaper on the edges to let some of the old wood color come through.

So check out your craft store, Michaels and AC Moore have an entire spray paint aisle. You will be amazed with all the options.
Also check out the RustOleum website for preparation guides and ideas.
I would plan on doing a light sanding on all the pieces and follow the specific directions on the paint you choose. In some cases you will not have to use a primer.

Good luck and send after pictures so we can do a follow-up!

If anyone else needs some advice, email or leave me a comment!

Quick Project: Chalkboard Herb Pots

Such a quick, fun and cheap project!

All you need are pots, chalkboard paint (any craft store), and chalk (white or colored), and a brush. Just make sure to do 2 coats as the instructions say and let dry fully before using chalk.

There are many colors to choose from traditional black to pink. I chose green as I wanted to make my writing surface in the shape of a leaf. You can paint the whole pot so you have more writing area, just paint the lip, or make any kind of shape. You just want to make it big enough for whatever you plan on writing.

Another variation is to use them as placemarks on a table. Use the mini clay pots, put whatever plant or flower you want in them, and then write the person's name on the pot.

The best thing about this project is you can change the message whenever you want with a damp cloth. The possibilities are endless, i.e.- (2 pot centerpiece: "Happy Easter" or "Think Spring", 3 pot centerpiece "Happy Birthday Sarah", etc, etc).

You can really get creative with this paint!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Before and After- Bathroom



So the bathroom is more or less done. I will be tweaking it for years to come I am sure. Thanks to Anthropologie for putting the curtain and matching bathmat on sale. I was able to get both for the price of just the curtain. Yes!

It is small bathroom, but bright and cheery. I wasn't all that thrilled with the brass hardware when we moved in but it really has grown on me. It has an antiqued look about it that is much warmer than cold chrome.

The only thing that we both really want to replace is the sink. While it is pretty, there is absolutely no place to put anything. You have to balance your toothbrush and lotions on the 1 inch ledge...not cool. We still want a pedestal but one with a nice thick ledge around it!

Monday, March 29, 2010

New Use For: Cotton Rope

Rope is showing up in unexpected places- as pretty and unique accessories: necklaces, belts, hairbands, and bracelets.

These examples are from Anthropologie and are so pretty and summery. Think fisherman's bracelets but dressy and girly.

Pretty easy to replicate and on the cheap! Get some rope and shape to make swirls, loops, and knots and either secure the shapes with hot glue or thread with fishing line.

You don't have to use Swarovski crystals but any stud like earring (earring widows are perfect for this) gems, beads, or even small silk flowers to glam it up.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Lifesaver: ShopStyle Website


So you want to add a maxi dress to your wardrobe...go to and type in "maxi dress". Up will come maxi dresses from every store you can think of. In this case 127 pages of them!

You can sort by color, brand and price to narrow down your selection. When you find one you like, you click on the image and you will be directed to the stores website so you can purchase. In some cases department stores will carry the exact same item and you can see which store has the better price. They carry every price range, from Kate Spade to Kohls!

This is a great tool if you want something specific like "yellow sandals" or "striped shirt".
They also have trend pages, celebrity styles, and community looks where bloggers put together their favorite looks.

Happy searching and weekend for that matter!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

How Hard Would It Be? Painted Floors

Cottage Living
Southern Living

Cottage Living

Cottage Living

I think these styles are pretty doable. Although, after months of painting walls and molding, we need a paint break so maybe I will tackle this in a few months. I love the twist these designs give a room. And they will work in any style of room, traditional or modern. The best part, the more worn they are, the better!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Things I Love Today: Bright and Bold

Southern Living

How incredibly fun is this room?! It is kinda wild but at the same time totally liveable and inviting. Love the wallpaper and rug print mixed with antique pieces and tribal pillows. I don't think you could be sad in this room. Love, Love, Love!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

What I Wore Today : Spring Trends (Wallet Friendly Version)

Earrings: Loehmann’s, $10
Tunic: Old Navy, $9 (on clearance) (Big sales now- release the hounds!)
Cross-Body Bag: Forever 21, $15
Denim Leggings: Hue, Nordstrom, $34
Boots: Steve Madden, Hype, $120 (@ last year’s Nordstrom sale)

Spring Trends Represented: Floral prints (I know shocking right!), cross-body bags, spring boots (yes!), and denim leggings!

These denim leggings are awesome and an “it” item for spring. They are way cheaper than most out there and are so comfortable. I have worn them so many times already. All the designer brands are around $150 and they are still leggings people, so go for a cheaper version. I find the Hue "Skinny Jeanz" great quality but reasonably priced. These leggings have the typical orange jean stitching details and back patch pockets, but I follow the rule of leggings which is you have to cover your bum! Some people have not received this memo.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Lifesaver: Grill Basket

The summer sun came out this weekend and so did our grill. After scrubbing our filthy grill plates for a hour, we were ready to rock. I love grilled vegetables (usually more that the main course) and this grill basket is the best (Thanks Mom!). You have to get one similar to this with small holes or the veggies fall through. So don't go for these or you will be inevitably screaming at the loss of your beautiful veggies to the flame.

Just cut your favorite veggies (I don't slice the mushrooms or roma tomatoes) spray them with olive oil, salt & pepper, my fav, Mrs. Dash and yum!!! They take a lot longer than the main courses so stick those on at least 10 minutes before your meats!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Blast From the Past: Little Golden Books Tees

This T-shirt evokes some serious nostalgia, but in a good way. I loved Little Golden Books growing up (and still do for that matter) and Urban Outfitters has 2 T-shirts in their honor (now on sale!): one of The Shy Little Kitten (above) and one of The Pokey Little Puppy. Now only if they had one for Scuffy The Tugboat...

Have a great weekend everyone!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Dreaming of...Outdoor Rooms

All this warm weather has me dreaming of outdoor everything. How great is this outdoor room? The coziness of the indoors (fireplace) with the garden view and fresh air. What a great place to read on a rainy summer day! Sigh...

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Things I Love Today: (and everyday) Irish Brown Bread

I made this beauty last night and it disappeared in record time. My Irish husband even gave me the nod and said "It is very good..I will give you that!" (If you knew my man, you would know that is a huge compliment!!)

Here is the recipe I used:

3 cups extra coarse wholemeal flour
1 cup oat bran
3 tablespoons wheat germ
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 egg, beaten
2 cups buttermilk or regular milk

1. Preheat oven to 380 degrees.

2. Combine first seven ingredients and fluff together with hands to mix in the baking soda and baking powder completely.

3. Add egg and milk and stir to combine until it has the consistency and appearance of oatmeal (I use a wooden spoon).

4. Knead lightly on floured board to shape into a round. Place dough on a greased sheet or pan.

5. Smooth top with lightly floured fingers. With a knife make a deep cross from side to side. (You’re wishing the bread well as it goes in.) Spinkle top with flour.

6. Bake at 380 degrees for 50 mins to 1 hour (or until golden brown on top). Cool on a rack completely before cutting (I never can wait that long though). Can be kept out for a day or two, but then needs to be refrigerated or frozen (it won't make it that long though:)

Tips: (I learned from my Irish ladies)

1. To check if bread is done, tap bottom for a hollow sound.

2. Wrap a tea towel over just out of the oven bread for a softer crust (I always do this).

Happy Paddy's Day Everyone!!!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Lifesaver: Purse Size Accordian Folder

This "File it" folder from Hallmark is amazing. The previous owner of our house left this in a kitchen drawer and what a life and money saver it is!!!

I use it to organize all my shopping ventures. I labeled all the sections (food, clothes, etc) and keeps all my coupons easy to find so I am not fumbling around in my purse at the register. It also has a paper pad for my shopping list and any measurements I jotted down.

I don't know if Hallmark carries the exact one anymore but any small accordion folder would do. I have to say I am pretty proud of myself for my new organized ways- and I am saving a lot of money.

Tip: As soon as you get the coupon circulars, cut them and "File it"!

Monday, March 15, 2010

New Use For: Wall Plate Hanger

Wall plate hangers are perfect for displaying necklaces and bracelets (and art). I have been using this antiqued one in my bedroom for years and is a great way to organize your jewelry (and keep them tangle-free) all while showing off your collection. For me if I don’t have them in sight I sometimes forget I even own them, and the hanger allows me to play around with my accessories more.

FYI- I have seen a lot of these recently at Homegoods and Marshalls.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Says It All: Our First Flower!

Our first flower at the new house and a true sign that winter may finally be over! After the brutal winter storm we just had they are mangled and worn, but I love her just the same. Can't wait till all the Daffodils pop!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Things I Love Today: Lucite Tables

I love this lucite table I saw in Domino magazine. I have been stalking a few (not as badly as the shower curtain but close). Lucite works great in smaller rooms as they don't take up visual space and don't feel bulky and heavy. I am either thinking about a console, like above or nesting tables. CB2 and Target both have some great choices. I think the console would be so great in our living room with 2 stools or a small bench under it. Hmm...

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

New Ways to Wear...Square Scarves as Carryalls

Get a square scarf and lay it flat. Tie knots in each corner about 2 to 3 inches from the end (depends on how large your scarf is).

Then just tie the two right sides together and the two left sides together (to make the straps).

You can use larger scarves for big bags (great for the beach).

Or smaller scarves for a cute satchel.

This is a great trick for vacations: you have a belt, headband and beach bag all from one scarf. It is lightweight and takes up no room in your suitcase. I used this trick all around the world!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

What I Wore Today : Stripes & Spring

Necklace: Zoya Boutique, White Plains, $15
Tunic: Old Navy, $10
Bag: Thrift Store, $5 (Sydney, Australia)
Jeans: Joe's Jeans, Socialite Kicker $80 (@ Loehmann’s)
Boots: Steve Madden, Hype, $120 (@ last year’s Nordstrom sale)

The sun is out and I am feeling "springy" (gotta love navy and white stripes)! I am a big fan of wearing my cropped Joe's with boots. Cropped jeans work perfect with tall boots in the winter (not all tight around your ankles) and are staples with sandals in the summer. I got them at Loehmann's last August for $80 and a similar version of the same jean is out now for upwards of $170- my "buy at the end of the season" strategy hits again!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Finds: Non-Cheesey St. Patty's Wreath

I found this wreath at T.J. Maxx for $10. I love it for several reasons: it is Patty's day festive without being corny(a lot of the decorations are plastic and kinda gaudy). It is made out of curled wood chips (perfect for my Irish carpenter husband), it is lightweight, and cheap! Love a find!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Things I Love Today: Ann Taylor LOFT Spring

They have a great Spring line. I love this outfit and The Flower Necklace Tank, I am totally going to make! All you would need is a tank of choice, silk flowers from a craft store and pretty ribbon. Done.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

How Hard Would It Be…Imitate Expensive Chandelier

How hard would it be to go from this?
To This?

Or Even This?Hmm….(Do you hear the wheels turning?)

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

In Follow-up: Yes, I Can Justify a $100 Shower Curtain

So I did it! After great comments from my people- I called my local Anthro and they told me they had one in stock. I felt like it was curtain destiny!

I, of course totally love it and it could not be more perfect in the room. I also bought handpainted knobs for the cabinet.

I have a few more tweaks to do and then I will post pictures of the whole shebang!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

New Ways to Wear...Men's Shirt

Necklace: Topshop, $20
Denim Shirt: Gap, $40 (mens)
Bag: T. J. Maxx, $30
Belt: I made with a found shell
Wool Mini-Skirt: J. Crew, $60 (on sale)

I like getting a menswear item (usually a shirt) and girlying it up with an embellished necklace and accessories. I love this shirt from Gap. Looks really cool with black or white pants or skirts and you can wear all year long! You can also wrap it tight around your waist and pin it, almost like a wrap sweater if you want a more fitted look.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Says It All: First Huge Snow/Ice Storm at The House

It was very pretty, I will give you that. But we lost a lot of huge branches on the flowering trees in the front. Now that I actually own trees, I am very protective of them and was out trying to save them from snapping under all the weight from the ice and snow. Didn't even get a summer with them yet(sniff)...hopefully I saved a few and the others still down in the snow will bounce back!