Monday, November 25, 2013

Crazy Busy Giving Thanks

For some reason this time of year inspires me to get my act together and bust out a bunch of projects (and rope other people into helping me. Thanks Dad!) This time last year we were installing new kitchen cabinets and our dishwasher (read about that here) and it was a vast improvement for us. I have been giving thanks for that dishwasher everyday for the last year!

 I haven't touched the kitchen since though. So in the works are some painted cabinet doors and a new-to-us kitchen island. I wanted to show you painted cabinet doors but hurt my back helping get the island in the kitchen so I have been out of commission.

The biggest change that has already happened is our foyer light got switched out to the one I bought 2 years ago. I bought it while we were waiting to close on this house for $26 off ebay. Here is our before:

Not the worst light I have ever seen but it's hard to see what looks like orange sponge painting all over it- even on the glass. It matched the orange paint that used to cover these walls. Not my style. In fact if I could choose- my foyer would look like this.

or it would look like this...

I love just about everything in both of those entryways but I especially love the lantern style light fixtures. When I started pricing them, I wasn't as excited. So when I found ours on ebay for $26 I thought I hit the jackpot. It's a little different but we LOVE it.

My dad was kind enough to help me out and hang this. We added a medallion to cover up the hole that would have been around the canopy. I think it looks so much better. I think the medallion was $12 when we bought it (two years ago). The amber panels on there diffuse the light and I wasn't sure about them at first. My sweet hubby decided they were his favorite part, so they stayed and have grown on me. For some reason this light makes the foyer feel so much more open and airy. I love it!

I am still mid purge for many things like kids clothes and high chairs so the foyer is full of stuff right now. It was decided last minute that Thanksgiving is going to be at our house so I am going to be cleaning all of that out and hopefully can get some good pictures of all the changes we have been making.

Remember the side table I bought a while ago?

I last I talked about it, I had painted the top red.

It just wasn't working for me. I ended up painting the top in Grain Sack milk paint. Then is sat for ages until I decided what I wanted to do with it. I finally decided!

I painted some nice navy grain sack stripes on the top and sealed it with some polycrylic. I love it. It has the elegant farmhouse/Miss Mustard Seed feel. Do you love it? I am actually selling it. I am sad but we are still playing with furniture placement in the living room and she just isn't fitting. I am sad but I want to find her a good home. If you are interested let me know!

One more quick update... I have been taking some things to a local consignment store as I purge and the last time I went down she had an old set of wooden shutters that begged to come home with me.  I used them to add some texture to our desk area.

I love the crackly old paint. I think it adds a lot of interest to this corner.

We have so many things to be thankful for. The fact that we are crazy busy is a blessing all in itself. I am beyond thankful for my family.. all of you! and especially the ones that live here with me and endure all the crazy ideas I have. The house we live in, even if it needs work, had become our home and where our girls are growing up. I could go on and on.

I wish all of you the happiest of Thanksgivings!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

The Story of the Ugliest Dresser I Have Ever Seen

So I wanted my next post to be an update on my two drawer dresser but I made the mistake of moving it up to our bedroom. The reason that is a mistake is because our bedroom is kind of a black hole. Things disappear in there never to be seen again. The problem (this time) is that, until the sweet hubs has a spare 15 minutes to help me move out the old dresser I can't really get a picture of the new one. Hopefully I will be able to do that soon because I have a total crush on my little 2 drawer dresser.

I told you last time about giving up on the empire dresser. I have been on the hunt for something ever since. I have found a lot of amazing things. Most of them were over my $60 max budget or too big or both. I saw an ad on craigslist last week about a set of dressers that this woman was trying to sell and she was willing to split them up.

Just looking at the pictures I thought it was probably just a bad whitewash job.

I was SO very wrong! Somewhere along the way it was painted white. Then someone took gold paint and streaked it over the white. Seriously horrible. The look on the hubs face was priceless. He could not believe I was going to bring it home. For $45 I liked the shape of the piece (something I can't change) and just the paint job was awful (something I can change.)

I originally wanted to refinish it and leave it a nice natural wood finish but when I got home I saw this.

Darn crazy paint paint job tricked my eye! I figured with such a large piece of veneer missing that I was going to have to paint it. I (of course) wanted to have the top refinished at least so that became the plan. I tried sanding. Didn't work. It took off the gold but not the white. The dresser has a curved edge I couldn't use the sander on anyway so I pulled out the paint stripper. That barely took it off but I finally got a pretty good clean surface. I used dark walnut stain on the top and Miss Mustard Seed's Artissimo Milk paint on the rest.

Here she is!

 I switched out the knobs for a set of 6 vintage brass pulls I found on etsy for $12. With shipping that brought my total to my original $60 budget.  I think I may develop a crush on this dresser too.  What do you think?

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

When to Give Up and Makeover Part One

We have been pretty darn busy trying to get acclimated to our new schedule for this year. I still get confused as to which day dance class is and Aleena having school three days a week definitely makes for a busier schedule. We have even had a couple of illnesses already but I finally feel like we are starting to get adjusted!

Now that we are somewhat settled, we have shifted into purge and organize mode. Have you ever noticed when you try to organize it gets worse before it gets better? We are in the worst part right now. Just about a year ago, right before we got Hurricane Sandy I posted about an empire dresser that I had picked up.

I refinished the drawer fronts...

 and had big plans that came from beautiful inspiration.

We did a little more work on it around Christmas and then we moved it into the foyer and it didn't get touched again. My sweet and understanding hubby started to push for some kind of movement on the project as we came up on the one year anniversary of me bringing it home. Was I mad? Not really. I usually knock out a piece in a couple days. Having an eyesore in our foyer for a that long is not really what I was looking for.  I had a couple of other pieces that were taking up room with no finish line in sight and I found a good home for them. When I made the decision to let this one go I contacted the same girl and she came and got it and was SO happy to have it. She is starting her own business and doesn't mind taking on fixer uppers. I just have to find something to hold all the hats, mittens, and scarves that are floating around my house now.

While I was searching for a replacement to our empire dresser I came across something that I have been looking for for our bedroom. A two drawer dresser. Not easy to come by and I don't think they are in high demand. We have been doing some reorganizing in our bedroom trying to come to some design agreement. (anyone else have vastly different decorating ideas from their spouse?) My hubby has something against dressers. Not sure what, but he doesn't like them. We moved some tall cabinets into our bedroom that hold pretty much everything but I prefer drawers for my socks and unmentionables. Hence the 2 drawer dresser. So craiglist (close by!) for only $30 produced this for me-

This little maple dresser had seen better days. There was some pretty significant water damage to the finish.  and it was FILTHY. I am imagining it sat in a basement for some time. I love it now! I have been working on it for the last few days and I don't think you will recognize it. The finish is still soaking in (I used Hemp Oil) so the after will come in another post but I am excited to show you!!

Anyone else find something they have been looking for?

Monday, September 9, 2013

First day of School and Cabinet Reveal

Aleena had her first day of Preschool (4 and 5 year old class) today. I remember last year when she cried and didn't want to go, opposed to this year where she has been asking for WEEKS if it was time for school to start yet.

This year there were smiles and even some jumping up and down.

I was the one who dropped her off this year. Usually sweet hubby does but he had just come off a 16 hour work day so I didn't want him driving. The minute she got out of the car she was focused on getting into her classroom and didn't look back once. I was shouting good-bye at her back. She is growing up too fast.

Oh yeah- AND the twins are turning THREE on Thursday. 3!! My babies. We were talking about cupcakes and birthday cakes on the way to pick up Aleena from school and it hit me that on her next birthday, which is only six months away, she will be turning FIVE. Holy cow. Time is just flying. Please tell me I am not the only one having those crazy Mommy moments where you just want to freeze time because you just realized how crazy fast it's going?

As Aleena gets older she is turning into my little artist and will spend hours coloring or painting. The cabinet I am going to show you today she helped me with and she informed me that when she gets older, she is going to paint furniture too. Love that kid.

We bought this cabinet when we were living in our rental. I needed something to hold the printer and some of my sewing supplies and fit into the corner of our dining room. That was a pretty tall order but we found this one on craiglist (of course) and sweet hubby drove to Delaware to get it for me. I have one before picture of this (that I can find) but the others seem to have disappeared.

I am not usually into the waterfall pieces but in the pictures this looked interesting so I was so excited. Until it actually got to our house and I realized there was some pretty extensive veneer issues. The door that is open in that picture had half the veneer buckled from some water damage and someone had tried to (incorrectly) fix it. We lived with it as is for over a year (fits the printer PERFECTLY) and then I decided to mess with it. I took all the veneer off the one door and took off the rusty handles.  I painted it black and searched in vain for an off size cabinet handle that wasn't totally ugly. I didn't like the black so I painted it white with black accents. Didn't like that so I repainted it white. Then I added red accents with a painted top. That didn't turn out exactly how I wanted either. I was ready to give up.

I found out Miss Mustard Seed was releasing a new milk paint color called Artissimo which was a navy blue so I thought I would test it out on this piece and I love, LOVE it!

I filled in half of the holes from the old handles and added wood knobs instead. and stenciled the doors. It doesn't match anything in the dining room but I think that will help get me motivated to paint in there.  This is more than just our printer cabinet these days. It's also our coffee station.

We are using this cabinet more than ever so I am so glad that I finally like how it looks! Anyone else having a new appreciation for something they have owned for awhile?

Monday, August 5, 2013

My DIY Farmhouse Table

Are you wondering if you read that right? YES you did! I DIYed a farmhouse table and I am so proud of myself! I had a little bit of sweet hubby help but I made this for him for Father's Day (supposed to be for Father's Day but I only finished yesterday) so I didn't want him doing the heavy lifting on this one.

If you are wondering why I made him a table- I will explain. Remember how he very thoughtfully got me this table for Christmas?

I started refinishing it and we got it in the dining room only to discover that it was just too low. It was about 3 inches lower than a dining room table that is made today. While 3 inches may not seem like a lot, it made it very awkward to sit and eat and the hubby HATED it. While I was sad that he was not enjoying the table because there are so many things to like about it- the legs are just lovely for one!- my goal with this house is to find things we BOTH like.

 Since we had just spent money on a table I didn't want to spend a lot of money to replace it. The idea just kind of sat in the back of my mind. I really wanted a farmhouse table but legs aren't cheap and I didn't have much confidence in my building skills. Then I saw a post by City Farmhouse about how to build the easiest farmhouse table.

Basically they took a wood trestle table and added the plank top. I had one of those lightbulb ah-ha moments. I figured I could do that. I just needed a table base. I am not real big on trestle tables but I figured I would scour craigslist and just see what I could find.

I had trouble finding something that I could just use the base and when I found one I liked it was far too expensive to just use it for the base. I was really looking for something under $50. The less money the better. Then I found it! (I saved the picture from CL but when I tried to but it on here it was too small.) Someone was selling a table with a metal/wrought iron looking base with a faux marble top. It was missing the piece of glass out of the middle but for only $30 and they lived 5 blocks away. SCORE! I took the faux marble off and put it on Freecycle to get rid of it.That left me with a great base for a farmhouse top. I started scouring Pinterest to see if I could find anything close to give me some ideas. My favorite was this one.

 My base wasn't this pretty but I knew I wasn't crazy for thinking I could do it! I also found this 

That isn't a farmhouse top but it's wood with the metal base and it has a bench which I would love to have in our dining room.

Then I started looking for plans to build the top. I knew I liked the farmhouse tables with the breadboard ends like this one.

Ana White is an amazing woman who makes plans for all kinds of furniture. Her site is AMAZING. I followed her Farmhouse Table plans. This is the updated version using pocket holes. I bought sweet hubby a Kreg Jig for Father's Day last year so I knew I could do it. 

I would love to tell you that I took all kinds of pictures showing my steps but really I was just praying I could get it to come together before our company arrives today.  I put this on hold when my MIL was coming to visit because there was just too much going on and even though we have been really busy the last few weeks I wanted this project completed! We haven't done any other work on our dining room but I feel like this is a great jumping off point for me! Drum roll please..... my table!

I made the stain myself! I will tell you about it in another post but it matched my cross back chairs perfectly! The other chairs at the table were also a CL find.

They were only $40 for the pair! I LOVE this table. The hubby loves this table.. and neither of us can quite believe I did it. I keep looking at it and maybe petting it a little. The kids even like it! is it perfect? No. But it's sturdy and pretty and I made it myself!

I am off to clean! We have the hubby's best friends staying with us for a week and then 2 Chinese exchange students for four days. I have a lot of cleaning ahead of me but I just had to share.

Anyone else do a big project they are crazy- proud -of recently?

Monday, June 17, 2013

A Rug Conundrum

Conundrum... pulling out the big words today. We are in the final push of getting ready for my in-laws to come visit and let me tell you I didn't get much of anything done on my list. We have been so busy!  I did get a few things done and I haven't stopped yet so we will see what I get accomplished.

I am still pushing forward on the living room and all 4 panels are done for the windows! We are still trying to figure if there is a way to boost the height so I haven't hemmed them yet. But I wanted to talk about rugs today. When we moved in we had fully intended to redo the hardwoods downstairs but we ran into a few problems. So we ended up installing carpet in the living room and dining rug but due to a time crunch didn't have a lot of choices. So we have tan carpet. Boring. For this living room makeover my thought has been to get an area rug for in between the couch and tv. We have had 4 contenders and with the 4th arriving today I think we finally have a winner.

We started out with a rug that I got from Home Depot on a special one day sale kind of thing.

I paid $50 with free shipping for this 5' x 8' seagrass rug. I loved the natural fiber, texture and pattern but the scratchiness of the seagrass wasn't working for us. We have two jute rugs in other places in our house and those work great for us but the seagrass wasn't working. This sat in our guestroom for two months before I finally dragged it downstairs and put it on craigslist.  When I listed it the same link that I put in this post showed the rug costing $124 (now it's only $80.) Since we really only used the rug for about a month I asked $40 and that is what it sold for. I feel ok with that!

Our second contender is one we used for about 2 months.

This is a little more modern looking than something I would normally pick but I was trying to find something the hubs liked too. I got this one from overstock with coupons and O Dollars it was about $60. It 100% cotton and was good until after 2 months of normal use it started to get really bad pulls. The white diamonds were not woven into the rug they were embroidered ON the rug and were very easy to catch.  I have this rug put away for use somewhere else maybe.

I decided to go back to my inspiration pictures that I had saved on pinterest. I found a lot of natural fiber rugs in the pictures. Since we already tried that route I looked too see if any of the rooms had any other things in common.

Notice it? Plaid rugs. I don't think I would have thought of it on my own but after I figured it out it seemed like a pretty good choice. The next trick was to find one. I tried Overstock again and ordered this.

 It was a disaster. It wasn't navy (although the description said it was) it was black. AND it was the scratchiest rug I have ever felt. I didn't even bother to unroll it. I just repackaged it and sent it back.

I searched for navy plaid rugs everywhere and finally found  some luck on pinterest (surprised?) And it led me to this.

I love when they give you more perspective on a rug then just the pattern!  I think it may be the same rug as my second inspiration picture. It's cotton but the pattern is woven in. The beige is in between the cream of our sofa and the tan of our carpet and I LOVE the pattern. It was $200 (ouch!) but I signed up for the email list and got $25 off which covered the shipping at least.

So I think we have Finally found our rug. Anyone else debating a big purchase?

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Living Room Progress and Fabric Storage

I am not sure how it seems that we are even busier now that we aren't driving Aleena to school 2 days a week but I feel like I have lost time in the last couple of weeks.

As usual I am in the middle of several projects.  I have the blue kitchen cabinet doors ready to be painted so we can get them rehung, I started curtains for our stair landing to the upstairs, the living room curtains are almost  halfway done and I finally found something that will work for some fabric storage in my sewing room and I started painting it yesterday.

I have big dreams for my sewing room. Here is one of my inspiration pictures.

I really wanted to find something like that blue cabinet. I have been looking for over a year. The ones I found were either too expensive or I was too late or it just didn't work out. Then I started to realize that not only do we have to carry whatever I find up our awkward stairs but also through our crazy narrow bathroom. That narrowed my choices significantly.

I found this bookcase on craigslist for $50.

It doesn't have the glass sides like my dream cabinet but I think that might be better (less chances of breaking the glass.) It's is fairly small. It's 4ft tall and 30 inches wide and it has some fun details.

I got this from a sweet older couple that actually lived right behind where the hubs works. She was telling me how she would wax it and that she thought that was all it needed. I considered it. My sewing room is all wood and at some point I will get around to painting it white. Then it would be nice to have a wood piece in there. But then I got it home in the bright unforgiving sunlight.

I realized it was a bit more beat up than she probably realized. There are some pretty deep scratches in the sides. But I am ok with that because I don't feel as guilty for painting it now. I can't wait to show you the afters- once I get there!

I thought today would be a good day to give you a curtain preview. I have finished two panels out of four!

I love Love LOVE the way they look! I really wanted to move the curtain rods up so they hung from ceiling to floor. I don't think that is going to happen for two reasons. 1. Our plaster walls are in sad shape and I am not sure they are up for holding that much weight. 2. The crown molding that frames the bump out for the  fireplace is right where the curtain rod would go. So I guess they are staying where they are. I haven't hemmed them yet so if I can figure out how to hang them a little higher I will be very excited. I know that the tiers are still up from the old curtains. I don't mind how they look and the fact that they give us privacy but still let the light in is why I put them up in here in the first place. I am thinking we may have to live with it for a while and see how we feel. The blinds are kind of ugly so I am trying to figure out what to do with them. Suggestions? That is the only thing I miss about the old curtains- they hid the blinds.

I am off to try and make some progress in at least one project this afternoon. Hopefully I have some finished curtains to show you soon! Anyone else feel like they are drowning in projects?

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Catching Up- Mother's Day, Family Thrifting and End of the School Year

Hey Everyone!

Sorry it's been awhile but we all got sick... again. This time it was just a little virus. No throwing up- which I consider a bonus really- but it was over Mother's Day. Not the greatest Mother's Day ever but I got to spend it with my family and that was awesome. Aleena made me something at school.

Have I ever told you how much I lover her teacher? She is great and has the cutest ideas. She traced the kids' hands, cut it out  and mod podged it onto a tile with felt on the back. It's my own little Aleena coaster and I use it every morning when I drink my coffee. The following week my hardworking hubby had a day off in the middle of the week so we all picked up Aleena from school and hit the thrift store, followed by a local plant nursery and Red Robin for lunch. We had a great time! Thrifting is a little more complicated with 3 kids and a husband tagging along but I did manage to find this.

Which is currently hanging out on the shelves over my sink.

It was the best make up Mother's day ever. 

The other thing I wanted to share with you is that Aleena has finished her first year of Preschool. I am so proud of her. We really saw her blossom this year. Here she is on her First day of Preschool.

And here she is on her last day of this year.

How my Sweet baby girl has grown! The time is just flying by.

We had a real honest to goodness weekend this weekend for the first time in AGES and were able to start making some more progress around the house. Hopefully I will have lots to share with you soon!!