DIY

poo to blue

this is the story of a really ugly file cabinet. wouldn’t you say this is one of the ugliest file cabinets you ever did see? when we turned the dining room into an office-ish room i felt motivated to help this poor poo brown cabinet realize its potential. i got it for free in a day-after-the yard sale scenario in brewster years ago. the same day i got that free rocking chair (it was a good day). i really love painting free things… i will paint almost anything. this project happened over the course of a few weeks, per usual.

the drawer pulls popped out easily. i spray painted them w/ two coats of white (they were a nickel/silver color).

i sanded the metal a bit to scuff up the finish, then sprayed it with 1 can of kilz primer before hitting it with the paint brush.

the color is barnstable blue by ralph lauren. i brought a settee cushion with me to home depot to match the cabinet to the seats in the music room (you’ll see what i mean).

check out mr. poo cabinet now. he has a whole new outlook on life.
the two masterpieces sitting on top are by dane and, no, they are not for sale (well.. email me.. we might be able to work something out).

new urban outfitters rug. very affordable and a fun new color for the house.

here are the settees i referenced. now the two rooms flow a bit.

 i had this wooden tray laying around. i sanded and painted it as well.

so some good progress in the transition from dining room to office…
then:
now:

brewster : sunroom love

b o y  am i happy its the weekend. this is officially a brewster weekend. its been a long time since we’ve spent 3 nights in brewster (july?). per usual there is sooo much we want to get done – namely, finish the sunroom and devise a plan for the basement floor. mike even wants to start painting down there (white!)… ambitious, but i like it.

i put “brewster basement floors part I” in the title when i sat down to write this, but i am realizing i haven’t mentioned a thing about the sunroom work we’ve been doing. 
it began, yet again, with carpet woes. carpets have short lives in rental properties.. or so we’ve learned.. we wanted to get rid of the stained carpet which led to new baseboards and trim which led to finally painting the whole room. the usual.

here are some pictures from a few years ago (pre – renter era) when the carpet was in perfectly decent condition. we didn’t do much to the room. just sheer curtain panels, some hand-me-down wicker, those stumps, and crate & barrel (west elm?) throw pillows. don’t ask what i was trying to do with the weird tint in my photo editing here. its awful. here is my original sunroom post.

 
we never loved the yellowy walls but felt no urgent desire to paint.

fast forward to the carpet two years later. had to go.
we ripped it out along with all the baseboards and trim.

now, a few months later, mike has painted the floor and the walls bright white, replaced the baseboards (5″ pine flat stock) and trim (3.5″) and we hired a pro to paint the ceiling a pretty blue (nantucket fog).

its so bright and fresh and clean and i’m so excited to put the room back together.

oh, and my favorite – nice white outlet covers and switch plates. its the little things.

we’ll have to wait a few weeks for pictures of the finished (furnished) room because there is too much football to watch today to finish up! let’s go patriots!

unspoonifying

this wall.

it needed some big, colorful art – so that you got a peak of it from the top of the steps.

big art for small money is not an easy thing to pull off.
enter: the spoons.

these huge 55×22″ spoon canvases were $40 each at ikea, which is way less than blank canvases i saw at craft stores or on the internets.

(this is best comparable i could find… its slightly bigger and $120 on amazon. slightly smaller at $60).

so i bought a couple spoon canvases and covered those spoons right up. sorry jo de pear.

i set-up shop outside with my apprentice.

and painted away with no real plan. i just used two paint brushes and the three colors (two green samples and some left over blue from the dining room) and brushed on overlapping sections.

i wanted really obvious brush marks and a random blend of the three colors. once the canvas was covered and i thought it was looking decent. i forced myself to put the brush down and walk away. less is more.

i asked my loving husband to build a frame for each of the two canvases. just a realllly simple frame. 
then i stained them with my trusty antiquing mixture and popped the canvas right in.

amazing right? i’m a regular van gogh.

next came my instagram masterpiece. i don’t think i photographed the process, but i literally just applied a coat of mod podge to the canvas, stuck on all the photos, then another coat of mod podge over the top the next day. easy.

confession: i don’t love the instagram collage. it could be better. ever since i finished i’ve seen so many versions of this and they look so much better when the squares are spaced out evenly with a white border separating each photo. (this is what i mean if you are curious). i sort of overlapped them a bit randomly to make them all fit and it doesn’t look as nice.

but overall i love the bright, happy, personal addition to this wall and being greeted by it every time we come down here.

and it was satisfying creating these big statement pieces for under $100.

b e f o r e:

a f t e r :

b e f o r e: (way before)
a f t e r :

better than spoons, anyway…

a quick knock-off

it all started in 2009 when i made my own centerpieces for my wedding… with lots of help from my mom… and they involved 16″ diameter mirrors that my mom accumulated from yard sales and craft stores and other mom-ish sources. 5 years later, i still had a number of these laying around.
so then i see these in a west elm catalogue.. you know those catalogues that they send you DAILY.

easy. i even had the perfect spray paint left over from the rods holding my new rug-on-the-wall creation.

but how to affix to the wall? i considered a number of options involving wood, gorilla glue, nails, and picture hanging hardware. it felt a bit messy and risky so i procrastinated a while.

enter the disc. i stumbled upon these things in a blog where someone was explaining the art of hanging plates on the wall. they worked perfectly!

and my wall is complete!

the sunburst mirror is from target and the little shelves on the other side are supposed to be square floating shelves, but i tilted them diagonally and now they are much more interesting.

standard bull dog position in this one, and can you spot the hidden stephanie?

i hung a rug on the wall

there’s this big wall in our tv room above the couch that has been problematic since we moved in. it’s big and it needed something big and interesting on it. our first two feeble attempts fell (very) short…
bad:
we couldn’t take the rhino any longer so we took everything down. it was blank for over a year. i sort of gave up. 
and then over the long weekend, i hung a rug on it. and i think i like it. 
big: check. interesting: check.
but lets rewind.
i found this cool “denim” rug at urban outfitters on ridiculous sale and i liked it a lot, but was fresh out of floors to put it on. (they currently only have the 3×5 in stock.. but i got a 5×7 for $63 ($79 + 20% off) and free shipping. insane). so i ordered it and told mike i wanted to hang it on the wall and god bless his soul, he helped me do it.
i initially pictured this situation with wooden dowels, but home depot didn’t have right size, so i ended up with some sort of aluminum/metal(?) pipes.. super cheap, like $4 each.. and spray painted the ends and the hooks “aged copper” by rust-oleum.
to create the pockets for the pipes, i used industrial strength velcro. on a total whim…, i had no idea if it would work (the rug is heavy!). turns out, this stuff is legit. the adhesive and velcro are super strong. it worked perfectly. $28 for 15 ft, but worth it.

.. a couple wall anchors, hooks and screws and it was up.

and that’s my story.

i’d like to give a shout out to my loving husband who goes along with my weird ideas and to the guy at home depot who walked us around the store showing me various pipe and dowel options and didn’t bat an eye when i told him it was for holding up a rug.

happy labor day!

half-painting things

hi. i painted stuff over the weekend! i also picked up a “big boy bed” for dane for $30 via craigslist that we are working on sanding down and painting. its been really nice spending some time at home for first time in a looong time. i’ve done some cleaning and organizing and some major rearranging.. more on that later.

so i’ve been on-board with the paint-dipped look from the get-go. now, specifically, i want to paint everything part-white. especially when its a neutral/natural something.

via
here are a few things i’ve painted part-white lately. i didn’t really take “before” photos so you’ll have to use your imagination.
…a couple cardboard letters (a gift for twin baby girls who i am dying to meet!) :
and a free tray from the brewster swap-shop:

the half-white letters are awesome. since they are for baby girls, i thought they needed a little feminine flair (hot-glued ribbon).

and the tray was so quick & easy & now its just a little more interesting.

the only thing easier than painting is half-painting. hooray for half the work.

when i get around to it, i want to do something like this to a couple free road-side chairs i’ve been hoarding:
via

this trend is right up there with uggs and jeggings… 

 the tray lives in my room now. if i could only clean my whole room. it may never happen.

wallpapered cabinet doors

we got the upgraded cabinet doors back on the built-ins just in time for dane’s party.

when our contractor left, they were in need of some serious attention.

i wanted to add texture, but keep it white and simple. here is my inspiration —

via
i used martha stewart beadboard wallpaper to try to copy this vibe (in an easy and cheap sorta way). this textured, paintable wallpaper is genius. there are all sorts of patterns and widths and designs, its the perfect diy-on-a-dime medium.
these are a few in-progress pictures i took with my iphone. the first one is my “model” (its a creative process, people!) the second shows how we were playing around with wrapping the wallpaper around the cabinet doors and making sure they lined up (which was a little more difficult than we thought).

once we had the pattern lined up best we could, we cut it to size using a mat cutting razor. next, we smeared the door with wallpaper glue and slid the piece into place.

the final step was cutting two extra pieces for each diagonal, uncovered corner (not pictured). when the faces of the cabinet doors were fully wallpapered, mike gave them each two coats of the ultra white semi-gloss valspar paint we used on the rest of the shelves.
the doors don’t hang perfectly and i wish i thought to spray the hinges to match the new hardware, but i’m over it. the result is just what i had in mind and i’m happy.

the ring pulls are the same ones we used in the nightstand makeover last fall. quite the improvement i’d say!

i am counting down the days until mike must pass along his elaborate fantasy football trophy to last season’s new winner. i’m told this happens at the next draft. i am so outnumber by all these boys in my house.

the rest of the shelves are not quite presentable yet. i do not plan on making a big fuss about the “styling” or spending more than a few dollars on fluff for them, but i would like to put a little effort toward a little “reveal” for the memory books… potentially i can work around my TWO bridal showers and make it a weekend project!

oh and TGI freaking F.

i’ve been painting stuff

when our basement is really finished, we will have a beautifully finished, *empty basement. i mean all the money we have invested in the walls, ceiling, carpet… i don’t know how we’ll afford to furnish it. so i’m trying to be creative and thrifty. we picked up a craigslist couch over the weekend and i’ve started to diy some art and accent furniture… like the k-mart stool below.  i thought with a little paint and prayer, it could make a cool little side table.
*aside from toys
i needed sponges one day last weekend and i left k-mart with sponges and this stool. i think i got it on sale for 14.99. i just remember it being so cheap, i didn’t think i could go wrong. (last i checked online it was on sale for 17.99…. just sort by price low-to-high and once you get past the stool softener, you’ll see it..) either way.. here’s how it went…

i’m totally hung up on the paint-dipped trend. i want to one-third paint everything.

first, i quickly sanded down the legs and slapped on a coat of “antiquing glaze” that i already had mixed up from other stuff we have going on down in the basement (more on that later. much more.)

i just wanted to get rid of the shiny-kmart-oak finish. this roughed it up and made it look a smidge more rustic.

next, i taped up the middle of the legs which will remain otherwise unpainted.

..broke out the kilz primer and primed the bottom and top.

i sprayed the bottom of the legs gold which made me want to spray everything else in my house gold. lucky for shakespeare, i refrained.

then i gave the top a quick spray.

i know arrows are trendy but i’m totally unoriginal so i’m into them. and they are somewhat easy to conjure using quarter-inch painters tape.

on deck was a sample of valspar paint. i’m going to have to get back to you with the name of this color. #bloggerfail

as for the result….. first lets focus on the positives.
the gold “feet” came out awesome.

i love the colors and general look of the 3-toned (stool) table.

but my arrows were a bit of a bust. i had such high hopes, but the green peeled as i was removing the tape and they just look like complete crap. the green wouldn’t stick to the slick gold spray paint.. i’m not sure how to avoid this next time. if you have any thoughts, please share.

but all’s not lost. its still a pretty fun little $20 table and it really didn’t take much time or effort to create.

a visual update

ok, i’m just going to show you pictures. i started to try to write words, but its not happening. work has been so busy and my brain is too mushy to string together large groups of words.

star light is in.

 
i sort of want to marry it.

built-ins are built.

they need a few finishing touches and a lot of paint, but getting there.

one of aforementioned finishing touches is figuring out how to make these lights work..

ceiling also needs a lot of paint. but is basically done and is awesome.

last monday we spent the holiday painting. the walls are benjamin moore revere pewter. its a warm grey. i worried it was too dark, but i think it will be ok once the ceiling and trim all have fresh coats of white.

here’s a little diy project mike is not looking forward to. we are tiling around the door to save the future carpet from entry traffic and, god forbid, leakage from this door.

we’ve enlisted dane to help with the painting. we are desperate. he has mastered pretend rolling the floor, so that’s helpful (teaser on a little wall art project here. don’t worry, we will not be hanging spoons anywhere).

peace out red.

what a difference some paint can make!

we need to paint the railing. what do you think, white? black? dark stain?

you can find more literary masterpieces right here as the drama unfolds later this week.

a little photo collage. finally.

behold, my weekend accomplishment..

finally some familiar faces in these frames.

if you follow along you know that it took a loooong time to get here, so even though it was a matter of filling 6 measly ikea frames, it still feels like a major victory.

i started by printing a bunch of 8×10 black & white photos via walmart. it was my first time using walmart for printing and they came out fine.. it was easy and cheap.. shipped free to my house in a couple days, so i’d use them again i suppose.

i got a big white mat at michaels for $15 from their framing department and used a mat knife to cut out some shapes for my photos to sit behind (since the cheap ikea frames are weird sizes). i just traced around a bowl for a circle, traced the shape of the hexagon using an image on my ipad, and measured a rectangle the old fashioned way with a ruler.

the frames are two of these: $9.99/ea. (already included a mat that works with the 8x10s)
two of these: $5.99/ea. (for which i cut my own mats)
and two of these: $1.99/ea. (cut a mat for one and just stuck some white paper in back of the other)

its so nice to look up and see all these happy moments when i first walk in the house.

photos of people you love make the best art. this one of dane chomping down apple sauce in st. martin is our favorite.

so anywho, the good news is you don’t have to hear me talk about this anymore. done. a good thing because we have way bigger fish to fry down below (meaning our huge finish the basement project).

without further ado – the dramatic journey of 6 frames and one mirror:

and still reveling in how improved the whole house feels after the entry overhaul.