Friday, September 28, 2012

My Fall Wreath

I LOVE Fall!  It is by far my favorite season.  I love the chill in the air, getting to wear my boots again, the leaves changing color, the smell of bonfires, football (WAR EAGLE!), making & eating delicious soups, going to corn mazes - haunted or not haunted, baking apple pies (Seth's favorite), picking out pumpkins, going hiking, and roasting s'mores. What's not to love about all of that?

I also love decorating my house for my favorite season.  We still have many boxes that we haven't even begun to unpack and I am nowhere near the hanging pictures/art stage, but I can't let fall come and go without some new decor around the house.  I think I'm going to tackle a new wreath, a tablescape for the dining room, and something for our mantel (which we don't have yet, so I guess mantel decor will only happen if we make it and put it up before fall is over).  I started with the wreath.  I pinned this page of amazing Fall wreaths on Pinterest months ago and have been dying to make one ever since.

I especially love the yarn wreaths that everyone is making these days - like the first wreath on row #2.  LOVE IT.  I love the colors, the nod to argyle, and the all around look of it. So, I used this wreath as my inspiration.  

Supplies that I used:
  • styrofoam wreath form (the largest I could find was 16")
  • spray adhesive (already owned but probably could have just used the glue gun for the whole project)
  • jute twine (already owned)
  • orange yarn
  • felt in brown, green, and orange
  • felt in white (already owned)
  • faux acorns (already owned)
  • glue gun (already owned)
  • ribbon for hanging (already owned)

I thought my inspiration wreath was wrapped in twine and I had some on hand so that is what I decided to use for mine.  (Turns out she actually used brown yarn, but I like how the twine gives mine a bit of a rustic feel.)  I started by wrapping my wreath form with the twine, spraying with the adhesive every so often as I went along.  (Note: I would recommend purchasing a straw wreath form as they are thicker and more substantial than the styrofoam one that I purchased.  If you are going to wrap it, leave the plastic on otherwise the straw will probably go everywhere.  I wish I had done this, because mine looks a little thin and puny.  Oh, well.  You live and learn.)  Wrapping the wreath was the most time-consuming, monotonous part.  It took me around 1.5 hours.  I don't do well with monotonous tasks like that, so I did half one day and finished it the next day.  

When I was almost done, I ran out of twine.  So, I set out for Joann's and came home with more.  It was actually about twice as thick as my original twine, but it's not super noticeable.  As hard as I try, nothing I make is ever going to go as planned or turn out perfectly, so I'm learning to stop agonizing over it and just expect it and live with it.

I used the fun orange yarn to create my "X" or argyle-esque pattern (again, not perfect).

Then I got to work making some felted flowers.  I watched this tutorial first since I was a felt flower first-timer.  I randomly glued on the flowers and acorns (except I did make sure to cover up the small, odd-looking "X") and ended up with this.

Here it is hanging on our front door.  The door knocker, house numbers, and other yucky brass hardware will be gone one day - whenever we get around to painting the front door that is.  Now I can't wait to buy some pumpkins and other fun Fall things for the porch.

Is anyone else absolutely in love with Fall like I am?  Are you making any Fall decor for your home?

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

For the Love of Chalkboard Paint

I know it's been around for a while now and it's not the new, hip thing anymore, but I just love chalkboard paint.  There are so many possible ways to use it and it seems to me that it can only add fun and function to a space.  Check out these images showcasing creative ways that people have incorporated it into their spaces (all images from

This is perfect for forgetful people like me!

Loving the contrast between the black chalkboard wall and the white cabinets.

Assigned seats!

You always need a place to jot down notes at your workstation.

Fun for the kids

Just cover with a tablecloth when you don't want to see it.

Can you guess which picture inspired us to bust out the chalkboard paint in our house?  

If you guessed the second pic, you are correct.  Seth and I decided to paint the entire far wall of our kitchen (the one shared with our office) with chalkboard paint.   (We have also decided on our wall color but I'm going to keep you in suspense.  The cabinet color is still mostly up in the air.)

After three coats, here is how it turned out.

I can't wait to start using it to jot notes for myself like "need more eggs" or "give Amos a bath".  I think it will also be fun to write up an inspirational quote or two.  Maybe our artistic friends will even draw something on it for us when they come and visit.  :)

What do you think?  Have you guys used chalkboard paint to add some fun and function to your space?  What do you write on your chalkboard - lists, quotes, notes to your spouse?

Monday, September 17, 2012

Simple Jewelry Box Makeover

After creating and filling up my jewelry display wall, I still need some concealed jewelry storage.  I have necklaces that I don't wear often that didn't make the cut, earrings that just won't hang on the mesh due the design of their posts, my ugly work watch, and some other random jewelry that I don't necessarily want on display but can't bring myself to get rid of quite yet.  I am currently using a wooden jewelry box that I've had for awhile.  There is nothing wrong with its function.  The only issue is the color.  Seth and I purchased new bedroom furniture a year and a half ago when we moved into our first house and the pieces have a very dark brown finish.  The jewelry box is more of a medium reddish brown.  Rafie (pronounced RAH-fee) wanted to introduce himself and demonstrate just how orange/red it is compared to the dresser that it is sitting on.

I considered spray painting it white or silver but I decided against that option for a few reasons.

  • I wanted something smaller/less bulky on my dresser top so as not to detract from my jewelry display
  • I wanted something a bit more modern (see those super traditional feet)
  • I thought it would be pretty difficult to paint all of the wooden surfaces without getting paint on any of the lining (see pics below)

Can you spot the ugly work watch? 

Since I had ruled out spray painting my old jewelry box, I started looking around online a bit and laid eyes on these beauties from West Elm.

I maybe could have fit everything into the large one, but definitely not the small one.  I was thinking I might need a large one and a small one.  Wouldn't they look cute stacked on top of one another?  But at $49 for the small one and $79 for the large one, it just wasn't going to happen.   

Then, one day a few weeks ago, I was poking around in Marshall's and stumbled upon these.  

Not quite my style with the Asian-inspired silver accents but definitely the right color and price - $16.99 for the set.  I bought them and figured I could come up with a way to make them more my style later.  I used my putty knife to pry off the plastic pieces and was left with some ugly holes.

I thought about just trying to plug them with wood filler and disguise them with white paint, but I decided that a plain white jewelry box might be kind of bland and boring.  I pictured two pieces of metal (one on either side of the opening) that came together to make a square when the boxes were closed.   Kind of like the West Elm ones I was in love with or this one (but a square instead of a circle and without the key hole).

So I carried the little Asian-inspired plastic pieces around in my purse for a couple of weeks while I pondered this and browsed the aisles at Lowe's for something that might work. Last week, I came across sheets of metal in various sizes starting at around $5.  The problem was that they were not shiny and I wasn't sure how I would cut them, file them down to get a smooth edge, and still have something that looked decent.  So, I moved on.  Then I came across stainless steel door kick plates.  Another possibility, but again, not sure how I would cut them down to the size I needed and make them look polished.  However, I thought I'd give it a try.  With kick plate in hand, I went down one last row.  That is when I found the solution.  

Shiny, silver "exit" stickers.  They would be much easier to cut, no adhesive needed, and they were a little over $1 each.  I grabbed two and put the kick plate back.  

At home, I measured and cut down the stickers to the sizes I needed.  

Then, I stuck them onto the jewelry boxes, covering the ugly holes, and voila.  

Up close, you can still see the holes under the stickers since they are not flush with the rest of the box surface, but I don't really mind how that looks.  It almost appears as if that is where the "metal piece" is tacked to the wood.  And as you get further away, they aren't as noticeable.  

Can you see them now?  The glare from the flash reflecting off the stickers is helping disguise them.  Overall, I'm pretty happy with my quick fix.  I am still going to be on the lookout for a way to jazz them up a bit (maybe with some upholstery nails?), but for now they are getting filled with jewelry and placed on top of my dresser.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Choosing Paint Colors part III

Since we probably won't be painting the kitchen or the back guest bedroom for awhile (since we are slowly working up the energy for the former and the latter is currently our storage area and full of furniture and boxes), I thought I'd share the color we landed on for the living room.  The phrase "landed on" kinda makes it sound like one of us closed our eyes in a room full of paint cards, waved our finger around, the other yelled stop, and we went with the color being pointed at.  I can assure you it was NOT that easy.  And choosing paint colors that way sounds reckless and insane to a type A, perfectionist person like me.  Instead, I like to over-analyze and labor over my choices.  Sounds much more fun, right?  It's something that is ingrained into my personality.  I think that is why I tend to question my original paint color decisions and repaint rooms.  Speaking of repainting rooms...

For the living room, we needed a color that

  • would be dark enough to "highlight" the freshly painted white fireplace
  • would be light enough that the room would not end up too dark
  • would coordinate with the rest of the colors in the house that we've chosen so far (see here and here for those)

The first color that I thought was going to be perfect for living room was Benjamin Moore's Meadow View 383.  It seemed to be a nice medium shade that would make the fireplace stand out without darkening the room too much.  It is two shades darker than the office color (Sesame) so it would definitely fit right into our color scheme.  We had already painted squares of Benjamin Moore's Van Courtland Blue HC-145 - too dark for the whole room, Benjamin Moore's Sesame 381 - too light to make the fireplace stand out, Valspar's Clove Bud - just not feeling it - not enough brown in it, and Valspar's Metropolis - which is one shade darker than our guest bedroom and two shades darker than our hallway- looked waaaaay too purple and here I thought it was gray.  I painted a square of the Meadow View and decided it was perfect.  So we purchased a couple of gallons and got started.

Looks fun, spring-y, and innocent enough right?  I wish I had taken a picture of it after we painted one coat.  It was too dark for the room and resembled pea soup.  It was just not the right color.  Here it is in someone else's room so you can get a better idea.  I actually like it in this pic, but it was just not doing it for me in our living room.  Trust me.

I still like the color itself.  It's a fun kind of color.  Here someone has used it to paint a dresser in a nursery (sorry, I couldn't find a better pic of it).  

I'm thinking since we have a whole gallon of it left, I need to find another project to use some of it up and this dresser has me thinking.  Could be another disaster or could be something great.  I'll let you know what project I end up putting my extra paint and creative energy towards, of course.

So...we were back where we started after nixing the pea soup color.  I liked the idea of gray a lot.  A nice medium to dark gray to highlight the white fireplace.  But then, the rest of the room would be too dark. So, we threw around the idea of an accent wall of medium to dark gray around the fireplace and a light gray on the other walls.  Something like this is what I had in mind (image from

Nice, right?  The problem was choosing a gray.  I have difficulty making design decisions.  Did you just nod your head, roll your eyes, and say "ya think"?  Good.  You know me well already.  I really wanted to stick with the "family" of grays that we had already chosen (ie colors only from the paint card that we used for the hallway and guest bedroom) but as I already mentioned above, the metropolis was just way to purple-looking.  So, we went back to an old tried and true favorite - Valspar's Tempered Gray 4004-1A.  It was in the hallway, master bedroom, and master bathroom of our first house.  

So we purchased a gallon of Tempered Gray and a gallon of one shade darker, Urban Sunrise.  We used the Urban Sunrise to paint the fireplace wall and the Tempered Gray to paint the other walls. was ok (don't mind the paint squares).  

 I liked the fireplace wall and I liked the wall opposite the fireplace, but something about the other walls and the corner where the two colors met was not good.  Ugh.  At this point, I thought I might make Seth crazy.  I was going crazy.  We lived with it for maybe a day or two while I brainstormed about another option and browsed tons of pictures online.  (Seth thinks my browsing online pics is the problem.  I see a room, love the color, and try to recreate it in our house and it doesn't always work.  Then I'm disappointed and frustrated and we are back to square one.  He is probably partially correct, but that's how I get inspiration.)  During my online browsing, I came across a couple of pics in my living room ideabook on houzz.  

I especially love the second one.  I NEED to incorporate orange into our living room somehow.  I just love it (almost as much as I love blue).  I also love the eclectic feel of this room.  It's cozy and collected and fun and wonderful.  These rooms turned my thoughts to Benjamin Moore's Woodlawn Blue HC-147.  It is one shade lighter than our dining room color (Wedgewood Gray).  I actually already had a sample of it (because I was considering it for the kitchen walls at one point) so Seth fished it out of the closet and slapped some up on the walls in a few different places for us to study (hence the random paint on the walls in the photos above).  Ahhh...much more soothing and happy than the gloomy gray.  So we purchased yet another two gallons of paint from Lowe's.  Have I mentioned that there are multiple employees at Lowe's that say hello to us each time we go in there?  I'm convinced that we are responsible for half of their paint sales over the last quarter (ohhhkay - probably not quite).  I'm also convinced that I married the only perfect person in the world for me.  Who else would put up with my paint craziness and still love me?  And still help me with the painting???  :)

Without further ado, our light blue-gray living room.

I really need to get on that nasty cream/tan molding.  Now, she is just waiting for some fun tangerine accents and updated furniture.  Seth is still trying to hold onto the ugly, old, brown leather recliner that he inherited from a former roomie.  On one arm, the leather is torn open and the foam is exposed.  It's kind of an eyesore.  Why is it that guys think they need a large, ugly, leather recliner in their life?  I promise there are other pieces of furniture that look nicer and are just as comfortable.  Reminds me of Joey and Chandler's beloved recliners on Friends.  

Hopefully, we can start the more fun stuff soon - like nailing down furniture arrangements, hanging drapes and art, buying area rugs, etc.  I will keep you updated on the progress!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Perusing Some Pillows

I'm getting excited about sprucing up our decor with some new throw pillows in the living room.  We have decided to go neutral with the wall color and the big furniture pieces (a new sofa and one or two comfy chairs are in our long-term plans).  So, I'm planning to add color with some fun pillows and maybe an ottoman or a pouf.  I've been perusing the options on Etsy and found quite a few fun, colorful options that I thought I'd share with you.  The nice thing about Etsy is that you can find tons of reasonably priced throw pillows (i.e. $15-50) in designer fabrics.  Feast your eyes on these babies...

Antlers are everywhere these days.  I like the playfulness of using them in unexpected ways like on this pillow. 

This pillow makes me think of Katniss.  I just LOVE The Hunger Games.  If you haven't read them, I highly recommend you stop reading this blog and switch your reading material immediately.

I love this greenish yellow citron color

A little crazy fun

Giraffe print = love 

A playful take on houndstooth

A map of the London underground metro tube lines - would be fun if you have memories from there.

I'm loving the geometric, tribal feel.

This would match my orange zebra print coasters.  :) 

One of my favs (but a bit pricey)!

stripes in cool colors

Ahhh.  I love me some fun throw pillows.  Maybe one or two of these babies will be on our living room couch in the next few months.  I'll let you know.