Thursday, August 8, 2013

be happy

So we've been working the guest bedroom lately and i've posted a few things (the curtains, the bed, etc) and we are now down to the details, which are fun and what i consider a personal challenge. i enjoy turning nothing into something or something old into something new.  

Today i decided to tackle some new "art" on the walls. This room has a cute dog-house dormer and charming arched walls which are a byproduct of the gabled roof.  anyway, i originally thought i would do twin beds in this room because they would just look so cute under these arches, but since we already owned the full size bed and the third floor guest room isn't exactly ready for furniture (where the full size bed will ultimately reside) this room will house for the moment a full size bed that fits charmingly inside the dormer.   that being said, before we moved in, i had the electrician rough in boxes for sconces to go over those "future" twin beds - guess where those boxes are right now..... that's right, behind the artwork in the picture below.  this artwork used to be in my old guest room so it was readily available and just the right size to hide the rough in boxes... but with the guest room coming together, they just didn't have the right feel anymore.  so i got to searching...

then i remembered the frames i had hanging in my old hallway

i have a dozen of these Ribba frames from Ikea - they're a great size and not anything super-expensive so i didn't feel bad about painting them and changing them up a bit. 

they used to frame this old damask scrap paper - it is so beautiful that it actually looks like fabric when behind glass, but this is not the look for the guestroom that is meant to feel cozy to grandchildren under the age of 5, so sadly it had to go....

i sat down at my desk and did what any thrifty designer would do - i went to pinterest to look for some inspiration and ultimately gave myself a headache - so i just decided to go with a simple, happy message.... be happy, be good. 

i already have the silhouette cameo, so cutting out letters would be a breeze

i sifted thru my collection of scrap paper and came up with a design that i felt would work well with the color scheme of the room. 

isn't this adorable paper - it's urban prairie petticoat #urp-1317

i set up the silhouette, selected a font (bambi bold - appropriate, right?!) 

after fidgeting with the font size, i went ahead and spray painted the frame and got to work.

i think one of the best little inventions is the double-sided tape rollers - 
they are clean, exact and precise - no waste, no mess.  
Pritt's are terrific and always hold like iron. 

here's the first layout - looks pretty happy, no?

i was so excited about how they looked that i never took a picture of the "be good" layout, so here's a picture of it in the frame on the wall!!

here they are side by side (the pinks are a perfect match!).

a hammer and a couple of 10-lb picture hangers....

and they're done!!

they're good and i'm happy!! 
(...and not a penny spent!!)

linked to:
Furniture Feature Fridays

Thursday, August 1, 2013

All in Good Time...

When we moved into this house two years ago, things were a little hectic. 

   We owned this house for a while.  It was built in the early 20's and then converted to a duplex somewhere in the 50's.  We had always intended to renovate it, but we rented it out for a little while when life took us in a different direction.  Anyway, when it became a struggle for my dad to get around in our old house we decided we should make the commitment to converting this house back to single family.  After all, there was already a first floor bedroom addition with a private bath and given the size of the renovation there was plenty of opportunity to create nice wide doorways and the perfect place to add a ramp on the back side of the wrap around porch.  Besides, the real estate market was sluggish and we'd probably have enough time to get it all done before we could move anyway.  Needless to say,  we sold our old house in a record 3 days and proceeded to settle 90 days later.  So much for a sluggish market... So we decided to focus on the critical rooms - and i do mean critical.  We made sure my dad's bedroom on the first floor was ready, the ramp for his increasingly necessary wheelchair, ada access in general on the first floor, our bedroom and bathroom - pretty much everything else was up for grabs.  I am still planning on writing my best selling cookbook, "haute-plate" cuisine - no joke.  i cooked on a hot plate in a kitchen full of boxes for the better part of 6 months before we got a stove - not a kitchen - a stove..... anyway, this is my long-winded way of explaining how someone could live in a house for two years with a room that looks like this....

This is (or should i say "was") our guest room.  
Notice that the window in the first photo is one type of window, and in the second photo it's another type of window?  That's because we were still in the process of installing windows on the second floor when we moved in.  Notice how there's no trim around anything - the windows, doors, floors.  How about that crazy floor finish - nice, right? Oh, and how about that temporary light hanging out of the ceiling in the first photo above...nice..

When spring broke this year (yes, this year) we finally got around to installing that missing window.  Which led to the trim in this room being finished, which led to paint, which led to the ceiling fan and outlets, and so on and so on - which led me to thinking about looking for a bed for this room. 

In seemingly no time, i found just what i was looking for - a cannonball bed - on craigslist for $40.00.  The added bonus, it fits perfectly into the dormer.  

As cute as the shape was, the finish was less than charming.  If you're new to this post, you might not know that i am a lifelong lover of pink, so my sister and my husband were both surprised when i decided to paint the bed a very cheery "sharp cheddar" orange.

Sharp Cheddar is a Benjamin Moore color, and i do love Benjamin Moore, but i am in LOVE with ACE Hardware's Royal Porch & Floor paint - it's an alkyd - and when they say gloss - they mean GLOSS... it is fantastic and finishes to the most beautiful shiny shell finish!

 So my favorite guys at Fisher's Hardware in Drexel Hill, PA mixed 
it up for me in a snap.

A Wooster Chinex brush is the perfect bristle for standing up to this 
thick-as-molasses finish.

Before I started to paint, I wiped the entire bed down with TSP by Jasco, to de-gloss the factory finish and prepare the surface for that beautiful glossy finish.  It was easy to mix, virtually odor free (which is not true of the powder version..) and took no time at all.

Just remember to wear gloves - cute ones. preferably pink...

Here's the first coat.

Look at that gloss only after one coat.

After completing the first coat.  I left the bed to dry under the newly installed ceiling fan - on high - for 24 hours before applying the second coat.

I was so excited about the bed, that I persuaded my husband that it was time to finish the floors.  Again, when we first moved in, we were going to install wall to wall sisal throughout the second floor, but didn't want to do it until everything was finished, so in the meantime we white washed the floors with a mix of 3 parts oil paint to 1 part mineral spirits.  The floors were in rough - and i do mean rough - shape so it was no heartbreak to paint them.  i have to admit, i like the finish so much, i'm not sure we'll ever see sisal in these parts. Again, at move-in, this room wasn't critical... 

So there you have it - two coats dried and beautifully glossy.
There's lots of cuteness in this room, but it really deserves a more thorough post than this - like everything else in this house.... all in good time...

all in good time.

linked to:

Furniture Feature Fridays

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Painted Floors

We have two porches - on the first floor a porch with small panes of glass on 3 sides. You've seen it before on older houses, French doors off the living room. It's a great space and we haven't used it for a few summers, somehow it became storage. Yes, I admit it - I have the potential to become a star on an episode of Hoarders.  If you really want to see the scary "before" picture you'll have to look at an earlier post, I'm not showing it again until "after" pictures are a reality.

The porch should be used to be charming. It had a green and white checkered board floor. It was a bear to tape out but I really wanted it and my husband painted it after I taped it while I was 9 months pregnant.

So I thought I would never get tired of the checks, but I did. Plus it was worn looking after a few years. I needed to decide - paint the checks again or start over. Well, of course I want to do something new. 
But what?

It's really a fun opportunity to be bold because it is a porch not a living room. You can go all out on the floor if you're really not ready with everything else that goes in the room...meaning the porch furniture probably isn't that expensive so you can change it and not spend a small fortune versus living room furniture. I'm excited to have a fun project that will probably be ready when summer is just about over!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

A Clean Slate

Sometimes the only thing to do is wipe the slate clean.

When we first bought this house, there were grand plans and deep pockets.  The long list of plans included a deck and all new landscaping (and accidentally running over that speed limit sign...).  Then life decided to show us a different set of plans.  Although these were the toughest plans I've worked with to date, and included some really, really tough losses (loved ones, jobs, savings) they also came with some really big blessings - getting to spend precious time with loved ones, learning that there's more to life than work (or a paycheck for that matter), a clean bill of health, a happy marriage, two new grandchildren and a deeper understanding that life is precious and time is fleeting.

Like John Lennon said, "Life's what happens when your busy making plans".  Plans these days are pretty much a clean slate. "Planning" is much more organic in the sense that we have a general idea of where we are headed and we otherwise "plan" to suit the weather.  I will say this, the things that get accomplished are executed with a sense of pleasure that was missing prior to these last few years. Before, it seemed that the more money I made, the more  money I needed in order to pay for the stuff that I thought I "needed" to make it all feel good - pretzel-y, right?  It was a pretty vicious cycle.  These days I try to first, do what's right, and second, do what feels good to me - nothing too complicated. I like to think I've always operated from the standpoint of what was right and good, but adding those two little words "to me" have made a huge difference in the way I look at life and my general happiness.  

.....which is my long winded way of getting to the point of today's post.  

To me "garden" is first a verb, then a noun.  I love to garden.  It was the thing I thought about the most when we starting making plans for this house...

I had plans of a low slung deck with

large teak adirondacks and a low table 
where we'd put our feet on the edge and talk the night away.  

There would be a gravel path with slate stepping stones with

boxwoods, hydrangeas, and rose beds all tied up with 

a picket fence and an arbor full of roses...

So, after a few whirlwind years, and with a new perspective, I am back to garden, the verb.... to the doing, rather than the plan.  I have yet to really garden at this house, but last year after the loss of my sweetheart dad, I planted a vegetable garden.  I tended to him for so long that I didn't know what else to do with myself and all of the tending I had grown accustomed to giving.  All I can tell you is we never ate so many tomatoes - ever.  

This year, after getting outside and painting the addition, a different task, but nonetheless a therapeutic one, it was time to start tackling the garden.

this is the entrance to my office, which is off the kitchen.  See the arrows pointing at the skewed stepping stones?  I have no idea why they were just out there floating like that - they didn't even make sense as it relates to a natural gait. I used to think I would throw them away and get nice "new" stones set in gravel.  These days, I think much more economically (both in the physical and financial realms).  So bearing in mind what my sister always says, "from tiny acorns, mighty oaks grow", I thought, fixing this path is a project I can accomplish on my own without added labor and a minimum amount of cash...

I started by pulling up all of the slate.  Cleaned up, for the most part, they were all in pretty good shape except for one - see it up there cracked in half....  Then I trenched a clean path and filled it with Quikrete Earth Essentials Paver Base.  I came across this at Lowes while looking for pea gravel - I actually like this much better with the slate -

 It was $3.90/per bag x 6 = total cash spent $23.40 + tax. The bag has a helpful chart to help you determine how many bags you will need.... 

It was surprisingly easy and definitely easier trenching out the path after all of the rain we've had lately, so if you haven't had any rain, you may want to consider this if you decide to carve out a path of your own - you might just want to give that grass a good long, slow soak....

I poured four bags of the base into the path and 

 used a garden rake to even it out, 
and the back side of the rake to smooth it over.

Then I placed the stones in a pattern that pleased my eye as well as my gait
and used the last two bags to surround the stones and set them in place.

I probably should have "tamped" them with a mallet or something, but they seem pretty well set to me without the effort.  And shortly after taking this photo, we had a healthy downpour of rain - again - not a stone out of place.

If i get ambitious, I might just add a brick edge on either side like the image from the plans - I'll keep you posted....

So there you have it - Who knew that $24.00, six bags of paver base and a couple of clean slates could make a girl so happy.