Tuesday, July 23, 2013

What We've Been Up To

Just wanted to drop in and plant a bunch of excuses on why I've had no new projects in the last couple of days. It has a lot to do with the fact that we spend our weekends like this:

There's something about gorgeous beach weather and a year-round beach pass that costs as much as a month's worth of grocery shopping that really makes you want to take advantage. 

I've also returned to the local youth organization as a volunteer coach for their Drill Team. We're practicing three nights a week so that is eating up quite a bit of my time. I'm excited to be back and coaching after a three year hiatus, though!

But I do promise, I have a pile frames for a gallery wall (!!!) I need to paint, and a fun tea towel project I can't wait to share with you.

Hope your summer has been as wonderful as ours has. Six weekends left...let's make a pact to make the most of it, mmmmkay?

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Turning a Thrifted Frame into a Pretty Little Tray

I am going to tell you how I turned this

Into this:

But first, a story.

I have this coffee table I bought at the same time as my end tables.

In all of her pine-y glory.
Long story short, she got the same treatment as the end tables, minus the glazing since I ran out of a steam the day I did the end tables. Those legs, once painted, seemed daunting to me (I mean, I was working in my garage in 95 degree heat and humidity...yuck!).

I'm filled with indecision about this coffee table because when I initially painted it, I will admit that the weather wasn't ideal for spray painting: a temperature in the low, chilly 50s with a lot of wind. Add in the fact that the wood soaked up the paint differently in some spots, and I wound up with a pretty uneven paint job on the top surface of the table.

Not to mention the fact that I spray painted all of the tables in Rustoleum's Heirloom White when I thought we were getting navy blue sofas, but this was not to be the case and is a story for another day. (Also, pardon me while I CONTAIN MY RAGE).

So, bad paint job + awesome choice in paint color but unfortunate couch circumstances + splotchy paint finish = anxious Brittany with a table that needs some work.

Right now my living room has: white curtains, white couches, white tables. Too much white.

Ah well, you live and you learn, right? 

I'm liking the look of upholstered ottomans in lieu of coffee tables, but our sofas have recliners built-in. I feel like that might be redundant. Or, I might just do it anyway, for aesthetic purposes.

Anyway. I digress. This is actually the story of a squirrel. I know you all want to hear about the squirrel:


A sad, faded woodland creature in a frame with a whole lot of potential. Tray-like potential, if you will.

To distract myself from the terrible finish on the top of my coffee table and my paralysis when it comes to deciding what to do about it, I have been searching the local thrift stores for an actual tray to sit on top of it for weeks now. Finally, I decided to bite the bullet and whip one up myself.

You might have seen Martha's tutorial on turning a picture frame into a tray. If you Google enough, you'll find tutorials on plenty of blogs, too.

Mr. Squirrel was $2.99, I picked up the fabric quarter at Joann on sale for a little over $1.00, used Martha Stewart craft paint in Wedding Cake that I already had on hand, and pulled a foam brush from my stash. Not pictured is my cheapo glue gun.

Total for this project: $5.00, give or take.

I took the frame apart.

Not going to lie, tearing off this paper had me a little creeped out.
I mean...what could be hiding under it?

And wiped down the glass and the frame itself. I kept the cardboard backing of the frame and set it aside.

I applied three coats of the craft paint to the frame.

And then distressed it a bit with some sandpaper to let some of the wood peek through.

I also promise I am not trying to subliminally advertise Whole Foods to you.

Then I turned my focus to what was going inside of the frame, so I grabbed my fabric and wrapped it around the existing cardboard backing, used a few dabs of hot glue to secure it, and trimmed the excess away.

Good crafters might iron their fabric before doing this, but I'm a rebel.

A photo from my morning room floor.
Hello, linoleum. I hate you.

Then I carefully reassembled my frame: glass first, then fabric-wrapped cardboard. I left handles off, because I don't really think they're necessary, but I know I could always find a sweet pair and screw them onto each side.

I tacked down a sheet of felt to the back of the frame with a couple of dots of glue to keep it from scratching my table top. You know, in case I decide that I'm okay with being surrounded by a sea of white painted furniture surrounding my white-but-you-were-supposed-to-be-navy couch.

That glass is so clean my naked windows are reflecting pretty nicely in it!
I'm really excited because if I really wanted to (and I'm sure I will), I can easy change out the fabric wrapped cardboard and replace it with a new fabric wrapped onto a new piece of cardboard. Or maybe turn it into a mirror. Or maybe a chalkboard. All I have to do is pull off the felt. So versatile, friends!

I see myself filling this tray with lots of pillar candles (probably of the flameless variety because even though Peyton's pyromania hasn't emerged yet, she does take after her father and I know it's only a matter of time), or filling it with candy corn at Halloween and ornaments at Christmas. So many possibilities.

AAAAAND...this tray can stay put whether or not I repaint or upholster that table into an ottoman. It's like win-win-win over here.

In the meantime, I set some covered in lace and twine I made for the wedding on the tray. I can't bring myself to throw them away, so I have a feeling those jars will be floating around my house until I die.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Our Weekend

I got 10 hours of sleep last night so I woke up with an "Up and at 'em" attitude today.


We had a great weekend.

A lazy Friday night.

Followed by camping with Denny's parents and their friends on Saturday. I don't know about you guys, but I've been introduced to staying in RVs since I've met Denny, and I can pretty much guarantee I'll never sleep in a tent for as long as I live.

Followed by a day of jet skis and beach time in Strathmere on Sunday.

Followed by exhaustion, insatiable hunger, and a pretty sweet glow-in-the-dark sunburn.

All well worth it, though.

Denny's parents kept Peyton at the campground, so Denny and I are taking full advantage of having the time to relax, sleeping in an extra 15 minutes in the morning, watching the Homerun Derby and enjoying some quiet time. I sure miss my little girl though, but I know she's having a blast.

And now, our weekend in pictures (really only some pictures, because I was afraid of dropping my phone and sacrificing it to the wilderness/ocean/pool):

I believe she was saying,
"Mommy, I'm not going to voluntarily take a nap ONCE this weekend!"

I am an admitted cat lady. The cats that lived at the campground were so friendly,
but I think the fact that I am the cat whisperer brought this one to me.
It jumped onto the bench and sat right next to me at our picnic table.

The campground had it's own water park, a pool, AND a lake with a beach.
My kind of campground.

Partners in crime.
(Hellooooooo Hubster!)

This slide was the only one Peyton was interested in
since the water was only two feet deep.
Eventually, she got so bold she went down it all by herself
while we caught her at the bottom.
One hundred times.

As a welcome back to reality, I was greeted with a wickedly clogged shower drain. I'm trying the baking soda and vinegar trick, but I'm also not going to lie and admit I have the Drano on standby.

Hope you all had a great weekend and are making the most of your summer. I can't believe it's more than halfway over already!

Sunday, July 7, 2013

The List vs. Summer

I'm so torn between enjoying my summer and working away on the house.

On one end, the house is still so new and I feel like there's so much to be done.

On the other end, it's summer. Enough said.

We finally have our living room completely furnished and I've finished up two big paint projects (you can check those out here and here), but every time I look at the house I feel like I'm torn in a thousand different directions.

Do I work on the mudroom first?
Do I start working on something new upstairs? Tackle the boring laundry room or start working on one of the bedrooms?
I still have that awesome pendant light from Target that I need to figure out how to hardwire and hang over the kitchen sink.
The swatches for our front door makeover have been finally removed from the front door and a paint color has been picked. Now those swatches are taped to a cabinet in our kitchen for no apparent reason. WHYYYY?!?
It's the perfect beach day, but there goes an entire Saturday.

I think I'm settling on the best of both worlds for the rest of the summer and focusing on projects that are in the yard or things that deal with the exterior of the house. This way we get our outside time AND still feel productive and like progress is being made.

The list is looking like this so far. These are all things I WANT to do, but I don't think we'll get to all of them. There are only like, eight more weekends for the summer, can you believe it?!

Front Yard

I guess there is really no excuse for not having my own photos
and continuing to use the MLS photos, is there?

  • Paint the front door (red). Hopefully we can take care of this in the next couple of weeks!
  • Replace or spray paint all the hardware on the doors.
  • Replace the exterior light fixtures (one by the front door and one by the garage).
  • Fancy up the garage door.
  • Plant a few more perennials in the fall so we have more of a lush garden feel in the flower beds by the front door.
  • Tear out a few bushes that grow a little too aggressively for my liking. We've already trimmed them back several times, but their roots are sprouting new bushes that are taking over the beds. I'd like to put some boxwoods there instead, since I feel like they'd be a bit more manageable.

Back Yard

MLS photo

It pretty much still looks like this. WAHHHH.

MLS photo

  • Build some sort of pergola or find a way to provide some more shade over the patio (yeahhhh, I'm thinking that this won't happen this year. But it is on my list because it will happen eventually).
  • Stain the concrete patio.
  • Replace the light fixture by the sliding glass door.
  • Create a designated "grilling area" off the patio so both of the Denny's grills (yes, he has two charcoal grills!) don't take up any valuable real estate on the concrete pad.
  • Add flower boxes under those windows.
  • Dig out flower beds along the long side of the patio and plant some decorative grasses and taller perennials to provide some privacy.
  • Finally figure out how to get some grass to grow in our giant dirt patch without going broke on sod.
Denny and I are nursing some sort of wicked mutant illness and are a sad bunch. Here's hoping we pull it together soon and get healthy!

Friday, July 5, 2013

Our 4th of July

Our holiday was both lazy and eventful, if that's even possible. Kind of how I like my holidays. The best of both worlds.

We spent the first half of the day lounging around the house. I cleaned a little and ran some errands while Denny and Peyton napped until I finally couldn't take it any more and decided to get festive, sickness or not. 

I got Miss Peyton dressed and snapped a photo (or 12).

An instagram shot.

Denny had to work today so he didn't feel like getting trapped in the post-fireworks traffic until well after midnight, so I packed up Peyton and went with his family to spend the afternoon out at the inlet in Atlantic City, where we had a view of both the Borgata's and the Revel's fireworks.

Also a sweet view of our normal beach spot, which we decided against since
I'm still under the weather.

It was a really great afternoon, spent with his family. Peyton had a blast being reunited with her cousins from Georgia:

I find that taking pictures of my ONE toddler is hard,
but taking photos of TWO toddlers is impossible.
But aren't they darling? They're eight months apart.

So proud of my big girl for sharing her book.

It was around 5 PM when my phone died, and therefore so did my only method of taking photos (since my camera is still MIA since the move). But Peyton LOVED the fireworks.

"Mommy, there're so cute!" She would say, and then name every color in awe of what was going on in the sky.

Love that child too much.

Needless to say, we didn't get home until 1:00 AM. Which means Mommy overslept for her oil change appointment this morning (whoops!).

I've been taking Peyton to the sitter all week as I'm terrified she'll catch my sickness, so I've been taking advantage of the solo time to get some things done. I went to my oil change appointment (late), and braved the Social Security office to FINALLY get my name changed (a whole month late, ha!).

My day of solo productivity included a trip to the Goodwill. Where I found this:

I smell a project!

The table and three chairs for $24.99 (!!!). It's pretty beat up AND the chairs need to be reupholstered AND I'd be stuck with an odd number, BUT on Saturdays blue tags are 50% off. Which means I could get the table and chairs for $13. It seems stupid not to get them. I took it as a sign that this set wouldn't fit in my car today and vowed that I would come back tomorrow. If it's still there, it's on.

I did just show Denny this photo and he crinkled his nose at me like I was a crazy person, but COME ON. Does anyone else see the potential here for a possible $13? Am I alone in this? 

I think he just has a vision of this stuff sitting in our garage for an undetermined amount of time, taking up precious man space.

Ahhhh well.

How did you spend your 4th of July? Do you think I'm insane for wanting that (incomplete and beat up) dining set?

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

4th of July Vignette

I don't know about you guys, but I love the 4th of July.

It's officially summer, spending time with family and friends, BBQs, pool time, beach time, lawn games, being outside, and most importantly, remembering how much I LOVE everything about America, and that the 4th of July serves as a grand reminder of our humble beginnings of 13 colonies who banded together and created some amazing ideas on what a country should be.

I love America.

This is where we all chant together...


I've never decorated for the 4th of July (SHAAAAME), and even though the 4th is tomorrow, I was determined to throw something together.

I know...a lot of you have been doing your 4th of July crafting and decorating since June 1st. Again, slacker blogger here, nice to meet you.

As for decor, here is my newest addition to the family, the buffet:

We don't have a fireplace and therefore no mantle, but I do love the idea of having a designated space to decorate for the seasons and holidays. So I'm super glad I picked up and fixed up this pretty little buffet.

Bonus: I'm going to store all of my tabletop decor IN the buffet so it's all in once place, instead of digging through various totes in the garage and shed. Storage, WIN.

As for what's currently on the buffet, I simply printed out these awesome printables and added them to frames I already had.

Please check out each of those wonderfully generous, talented bloggers! 

Then I spent a nice Saturday morning thrifting and searching around my house for red, white, and blue items.

I picked up some books, the red, white, and blue basket, the old-school Smucker's jar, the little blue mug and the big red beer stein, and the white milk glass from my local Goodwill. The milk glass actually reads "'76" near the neck of the bottle because it's a bicentennial Christmas piece, but if you don't look closely you don't even notice. (Which means that bad boy is coming back for double duty at Christmas!) The big glass jug is actually an old bottle that I found in my stepdad's basement and the little white bird I got from Michael's a year ago on clearance.

In total, I maybe spent...$10? on this set up. 

And now the problem that has been plaguing me since I moved pretty miss buffet into the house:

What should I do about this giant blank wall and stick-out-like-a-sore-thumb thermostat? Plate wall, gallery wall (but then...gallery wall with just frames or frames with ACTUAL pictures?). Some sort of homemade art? What to do? Don't you love it when you finish one project which inevitably leads to another project (I'm not complaining, though).

So, what are your plans for a Happy 4th? Feel free to share in the comments.

Enjoy and be safe, everyone!

Linking up to:
Southern Lovely

Ruminations on Being Home Sick and Daytime Television

I'm sick.

Like...sinus infection, ear infection, pinkeye (PINKEYE?!?!) sick.

Peyton is at the sitter's so she doesn't catch the plague from me.

Denny is at work.

So it's just me, the laptop, and the TV. All day.

I used to watch a whole lot of daytime TV when I was at home with Peyton (well, maybe not "watch," but I kept it on for background noise while a tiny screamy baby with reflux slowly chipped away at my sanity), but I find myself completely irritated by it today. Maybe it's the sickness. Who knows.

But seriously...

Whoopi Goldberg, WHY do you have to shout so much on "The View"? I have an ear infection, and you are hurting me.

Rachael Ray, WHY are you hugging up on all those puppies for adoption and then running right into your kitchen to make some delicious burgers? I hope you washed your hands during commercial breaks. I frown at dog hair in my food.

Contestants on "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire," WHY do you have to explain every answer? You know the answer, JUST SAY IT.

Ugh, here's to hoping I feel better enough tomorrow to actually go out and enjoy some holiday festivities.

Otherwise it'll be me, the laptop, daytime TV, and the rage again.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

How to Glaze Furniture

I've done it twice already with the end table makeover and the buffet makeover and to be honest, glazing a piece of furniture can really bring out some amazing details and add so much dimension to a painted piece of furniture.

For some more great tips, check out All Things Thrifty and Vintage Revivals. Great tutorials and examples of glazing.

I'll demonstrate here, as done on the buffet project I just finished:

Step one: Paint your piece and let it dry completely. Don't be hasty, girl!

Step two: Distress by sandpaper. Get those edges.

Step three: If you bought your glaze tinted at Home Depot, good for you. If you didn't, like me, pour some glaze into a plastic cup and mix in a little bit of the paint color of your choice. I like to use regular old acrylic craft paint and it doesn't take much. Below you can see I used black, but really you could use any color your little heart desires.

Step four: either brush the tinted glaze or wipe on with a rag. Make sure to get into any edges, crevices, insets, carved motifs, whatever. If there is an awesome feature to your furniture, glaze is pretty likely to make it even more awesome.

Step five: Wipe off with a damp cloth. Make sure to let glaze remain in those cracks, edges, crevices, etc. 

After glazing the drawers and the doors,
it's so much more obvious how well the glazing works on the doors.
Step six: Repeat, if you so desire, for a more distressed look.

Step seven: Allow to dry and apply protective coating of some sort (wax, Polycrylic, Polyurethane, etc...I like Minwax Polycrylic because it doesn't smell as bad as the Polyurethane, nor does it yellow over time as Polyurethane is apt to do)..


There she is again!
To see other furniture makeovers by yours truly:

Monday, July 1, 2013

Buffet Makeover

Since I've been on a roll with furniture makeovers, I figured it was probably time to attack the buffet that's been sitting in my garage since April, and previously in our storage shed at Denny's parents' house. Behold, the big brown buffet that was in GREAT shape but was sadly lacking in the style I was looking for in our new home:

Sad buffet in sad Craigslist photo

Yugoslavia doesn't even exist anymore!

I had been trolling Craiglist for weeks trying to find a buffet in decent condition, but everyone wanted $100+ for theirs. What's up with that, Craigslist users? You're all crazy. If they weren't overpriced, then they were just too far away. I only just recently started testing the Craigslist waters, so I didn't feel comfortable driving too far for a piece I might not even like or bring home. 

Then, finally, I found one being sold in the next town over for...

...wait for it....


The photo looked nice, and shockingly, the listing was still live after almost two weeks of being posted. So I crossed my fingers and emailed the owner who said come and get it.

So I did. It was a little dirty and covered in cobwebs, but it had potential.

And then my buffet sat for months while I figured out what to do with it.

I started sanding it. 

Originally I was going to sand it down to bare wood because I wanted to stain the top and paint the rest. But then, I thought to myself, 'Self, #AINTNOBODYGOTTIMEFORTHAT' (yes, sometimes I think in hashtags). So I just sanded just enough to give the paint something to hold onto.

Once I was done sanding, here's what I used:
If you'll remember, I spray painted the end tables. This time I decided to try my hand with just latex paint. To be honest, I like the convenience of spray paint for smaller projects, but using latex interior paint is so much better for bigger projects like this one.

And remember: 
Oil-based primer + oil-based paint = yes. 
Oil-based primer + latex paint = yes. 
Latex primer + latex paint = yes.
Latex primer + Oil-based paint = nooooooooooo. Just don't do it.

I use oil-based primers because I like them, but prefer latex paint with low VOCs because I can't take too much of the oil-based paint smell and fumes, low VOCs or not.

Here she is after primer, using the roller for the larger parts, and the foam brush for the insets on the doors and drawers:

Doors and drawers not pictured here, unfortunately,
but you can peep out the end tables hiding behind the buffet!

Here she is after one coat of paint:

Not her best look, given this was at almost 9 PM
and hubster installed some CRAZY bright LED lights in the garage.

Spray paint or regular paint, thin and even coats are key. This buffet used three coats of paint on top of one coat of primer. I probably could have done two coats of primer and two of paint, but...well...I didn't. 

Once everything was dry, I REALLY glazed the buffet. For the end table makeover, I really only wanted glaze in some of the details of the furniture. With the buffet, I wanted dirty and old looking. I basically used the same process as before:

  • Brush on...really get it on there (this time I brushed over the whole thing, in parts, of course)
  • Wipe off as much as you want to/need to with a damp cloth.
  • Let her dry!
An example of the doors in all their glazed glory

Once everything was dry and had cured for a couple days, I put the drawers back in and the doors back on, and put two coats of polycrylic on the top.

Here she is, all finished up:

Hello, gorgeous.

I have big plans for this buffet (and it's NOT going in my dining room!). I can't wait to show it to you all spiffed up for the 4th of July! UPDATE: Psssst...click here for the 4th of July vignette!

Linking up to:
Coastal Charm, Cozy Little House, Kammy's Korner, Artsy Chicks Rule, My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia, Home Stories A to ZDomestically SpeakingThe Trendy TreehouseSavvy Southern StyleThe Style SistersCreations by KaraSomeday CraftsSNAP!The Blissful BeeElla Claire InspiredAshley's Dandelion WishesThe Shabby Creek CottageThe Brambleberry CottageThe Thrifty HomeThe Crafty Blog StalkerHouse of Hepworths4 You With LoveStart at HomeFrench Country CottageBlissful and DomesticThe Shabby NestChic on a Shoestring DecoratingMy Romantic HomeFunky Junk InteriorsTatertots and Jello,, House of RoseThe Happy HousieConfessions of a Serial DIYerThe Hankful HouseJust a Girl and Her BlogHouse by Hoff