Friday, October 31, 2014

Dining Room Updates

I think I last left you here with the dining room/office switcheroo.  We finally found some time to hang a few things on the walls.

First up is this DIY mirror.

Do you recognize it?  It all started two years ago when I found the frame at a thrift store.  At first, I thought it was an actual painting.  Upon closer inspection, it was really just a print on textured paper to make it appear as if there were brush strokes.  Sneaky.  So, I didn't feel too bad about repurposing it.  After a light sanding, I sprayed the frame with multiple coats of glossy white spray paint.  

The mirror is actually our old guest bathroom mirror that I took to a local glass place and had cut down to the correct size.  It was a really thick, heavy mirror and so I decided paying $15 was worth it versus trying to cut it myself.  I used some liquid nails construction adhesive to adhere it directly to the print.  

Technically, it is a bit oversized for the buffet, but I think once I hang a couple of DIY sconces on either side of it, they will help visually incorporate the two chairs that flank the buffet and the space will appear more grounded.

We also hung some artwork on either side of the window.

Yes, I really need to get better at my photography.

The print on the left was stolen from our spring/summer mantel and is by Britt Bass.  

The art on the right is a watercolor on paper by Jessica Torrant.  

I kept it super simple on the dining room table this fall.  A couple of white pumpkins and some cotton.  That's all I felt it needed.

I love how the mirror opens up the space and bounces light around.

You can even see the painting in our foyer reflected in it.

Progress.  I'll take it.  

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Orange and Gold Fall Mantel

Here is what I came up with for our fall mantel this year.

I removed everything from our spring/summer mantel and started with a clean slate.  The base piece is a mirror that I found at a local furniture resale store months ago.  

I decided to add Fred the moose back into the mix and I gave him a colorful scarf so his neck will stay warm.

I filled up the mantel space with my brass candlesticks from Target holding orange tapers, a gold pear (also from Target), my geometric gold frame with the chalkboard (the frame is yet another Target item), some DIY feather art, and a brass bowl with pinecones.

I've been wrestling with what (if anything) to draw on the chalkboard.  Inspiration just hasn't hit yet.  I'm open to suggestions.

For the feather art, I started with a blank canvas and used some liquid gold leaf to add a chevron pattern.  After enlarging this template (from Lia at on my printer/copier, I used it to trace and cut out a feather from some amazing rust colored suede that I found at JoAnn's.

I attached my suede feather with some spray adhesive and voila.  

For the banner, I simply printed my letters on white card stock in the font Mayonaise.  A couple of holes and some orange yarn was all it took to complete the simple banner.

Since we moved Fred from above the TV, I used this free fall printable from Kellie at Nest of Posies to fill the hole for the time being.

Pretty simple and inexpensive - just the way we like it around here.  I've got the final installment of the porch columns DIY in the works for you and some dining room updates to share soon.  Have a great week!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Map Art for the Master Bedroom

I've been searching for the right piece of art to hang above Seth's dresser for awhile.  After hanging some other prints above our nightstands, I found Jenna Sue's Etsy shop.  She sells aerial map art prints and they are available in lots of gorgeous colors.

I picked out a city that is very special to both of us and ordered it in navy.

It's a map of the city where we met and spent three years together.

Any guesses?

It's Knoxville.  If you look closely, you can see the Tennessee River wrapping around campus.

See it now?

I love pieces that are sentimental without being too cheesy.  And navy was (of course) the right choice.  I love me some navy.  It's such a gorgeous, classic color.  I think every room needs a bit of navy in the mix.  You can quote me on that.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Easy Chevron Wood Slice Fall Wreath

I kept our fall wreath pretty simple this year.

I started with a straw wreath form (the same one that I used for our Spring wreath) and wrapped it with chevron ribbon that I found at Hobby Lobby.  

Seth cut me some thin (~1/4" thick) wood slices from a dead tree in our yard that I drilled holes in and connected with jewelry wire.

I used a wood burning tool to burn the letters to spell "fall" onto the wood slices.

I added a simple burlap bow and called it done.

The front porch isn't 100% finished for fall yet, but I'll post pics soon.  

Have a great week!

Monday, October 13, 2014

Easy (for you) DIY Fire Pit

A few weeks ago, Seth and I got to work building a fire pit in our backyard.  Here is our story.

We scouted out the ideal location in our yard.  

Seth then trimmed some branches from a nearby tree that were overhanging the fire pit area. Safety first, people.

Plan A was to follow this tutorial and utilize the bowl from our existing fire pit.

But we soon realized that it was a bit too small.

Onto Plan B: no bowl in the fire pit.  After laying out a circle of 13 retaining wall blocks, we used a long board and a level to check our base.  We dug underneath some of the higher blocks to get our base as close to level as possible.  

Then, we placed two more layers on top, staggering the seams.  (We used 39 blocks in all in case you are keeping track.)

And our fire pit was born.  Next, we used a hose to mark the outer perimeter of our seating area.

We settled on six feet out from the fire pit blocks and used some landscape fabric pins to secure the hose.

During our brainstorming phase, I had the brilliant idea to abandon the "easy pea gravel method" and try something fancier - flagstone.  If ever your significant other suggests a flagstone patio (especially on an un-level surface) JUST SAY NO.  I had no idea what I was getting us into.  

It wasn't until we purchased 2,000 pounds of flagstone, unloaded it from the truck, arranged it around the perimeter of the fire pit like a jigsaw puzzle, and began digging underneath the stones to set them that I decided we probably didn't really know what we were doing.  Cue the frantic iPhone searches whilst standing outside looking at this.

Cue the agony and self-loathing after realizing that we certainly did not know what we had gotten ourselves into.  Scratch that.  What I had gotten us into.  Laying a flagstone patio that will look good for years (i.e. no cracking stone due to uneven terrain) requires digging down 10-12", spreading two thick layers of gravel (tamping down in between the layers), spreading sand, leveling the sand, laying the stones, and using a rubber mallet to level each one.  Um, yeah. We don't have that kind of money, energy, or time right now.  Mostly time and energy.  (And you just thought we were young and energetic.)  

So...the 2,000 pounds of flagstone were loaded back onto the pallet and exchanged for quite a bit of store credit.  And plan B was instituted.  

Pea gravel.  Pea gravel is akin to elastic waist pants.  Or well placed ruching.  It covers all manner of sins (or belly pooches).  It is perfect for a slightly un-level surface.  It's inexpensive. The opposite of flagstone.  Do yourself a favor and choose pea gravel to begin with.

After deciding on pea gravel, we spent some time leveling the ground the best we could (don't get too crazy here because - remember? - the pea gravel will fill in any uneven areas).  Then we used this edging to define our seating area.

Next, we laid down weed cloth and used landscape fabric pins to tack it in place.  

After that, we shoveled a total of three scoops of pea gravel on top and used a metal rake to spread it around.

We put our lounge chairs in place...and then the fire pit area was done!

A close up of the retaining wall blocks for you...

(The base layer is hidden by pea gravel on this side.) 

Sadly, we've only used our new outdoor gem once thus far.  But this weekend, we have big plans to light her up again.  

Yes, those are marshmallow roasting sticks.  No fire is complete without s'mores.

I LOVE how it turned out.  It is the perfect spot to sit and relax on a crisp fall evening and I know we will use it for years to come.