Garage Sale Pile to Treasure

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Here's the other little project I did over the weekend that I promised I'd share with you.

I pulled this old chair out of my "sell-whenever-you-get-around-to-having-a-garage-sale" pile and decided to improve upon it a bit. And yes, I really was going to sell this unique little chair, but in my defense it had bad memories so I didn't want it around. Instead I decided to turn lemons into lemonade and make it something wonderful that I can love.

I distressed it a little with some sandpaper and then painted the year "1924" on the back rest (which happens to be the year my sweet Grandma was born...I like things around the house to have meaning to them).

I was crazy enough to draw the numbers freehand (with pencil) first, and then use a tiny brush and black craft paint to paint by hand. It seemed to work out ok.

And then....wait for it....wait for it....shazam! I decided to go the extra mile by painting a garland on the back...even though the chair is up against the wall most of the time and nobody will ever see it. At least I know it's there.

Overall, I'm loving the "new" chair. It adds a little more character to the living room...and cost next to nothing!

Weekend Spruce Up - Tablescape

Monday, April 27, 2009

First, Edie at Life In Grace is having a painted wood linky party today. You have to go over there and see what a unique transformation she achieved with her kitchen. I wish I was that fun :).

So, I didn't quite get around to mopping the floors or raking leaves out of the flowerbeds this weekend. I did manage to do a couple other projects, though...really, isn't decorating more fun than cleaning?...can I hear an "amen"?!

Here's the first project I tackled (I'll mention the other one later in the week). I was pretty unhappy with the decor on the chest of drawers in my living room. It wasn't terrible, but it was just kind of ohhhkay.

I wanted something more monochromatic, more polished, more get me? So I went back and studied this post from the Nester on tablescapes. I then reworked my own tablescape using only items I already owned.

I leaned two black and white frames against the wall, and put tan linen fabric in one because I didn't have a good black and white print to go in the frame. I think it worked out alright.

I switched out the lampshade with a white one from the guest room.

I stacked some books and a mother of pearl box (that I bought forever ago at TJ Maxx) on top of a platter.

I also placed a little bird and her nest under a cloche on a small vintage cake stand. Don't feel bad for the bird though. She's very happy under there....she told me so.

Have a great Monday!

Thrifty Decor Ideas - Shabby Nest Party!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Wendy over at the Shabby Nest is having a Linky Party today featuring creative and thrifty decorating ideas. Thrify ideas and a party?! Oh, you know I couldn't miss that.

So here's my contribution. Large sheets of watercolor paper. Huh...You say? Stay with me people.

You know those fancy schmancy framing mats that cost at least an arm...if not a leg too? They look great, but thrifty they are not. Thick, textured watercolor paper on the other hand is very affordable at $2-$4 for a huge poster size sheet (at Hobby Lobby...even less if you have a 40% off coupon), and it can give the same look as fancy mats.

For example, here I just taped inexpensive postcards on top of the paper, and voila...we have custom art...more or less.

And on this one I cut a square and then taped some perdy fabric behind.

And these are my most recent creations. I printed some pictures I found here (on a regular black and white printer...because that's all I have), cut them to size and taped them onto watercolor paper. Then I went the extra mile by taping the whole shabang onto burlap. How much did this whole project cost?...around $6 for all three (excluding frames...which I did buy when they were 50% off at Hobby Lobby).

Just remember my friends, where there's a will there's a way.

Happy creating, and have a great weekend!

Yes You CAN Paint Those Ugly Laminate Countertops

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

I gave you a little sneak peak of my master bathroom makeover the other day, and I thought I'd go ahead and share with you the process I used to paint my ugly burgundy laminate countertop.


Before you touch your countertops get a really clear idea of what you want the end product to look like. I wanted a subtle travertine or tumbled marble look, so I bought a few samples at the store (and kept the receipts so I could return them when I was finished...oh, don't look at me like that) and then I held paint samples up to them setting aside any colors that I found in the stone. If you look closely you should see several colors in there.

I eventually narrowed my colors down to 3 and then bought a quart of each in latex. You could also use craft paint, but I was afraid it wouldn't hold up as well and I'm really picky about what colors I like so I went a different direction. Also, I would HIGHLY recommend that choose colors that have similar values (or lightness and darkness). I personally think if there's too much difference between the values it doesn't look real...but that's just me.


Do a couple test boards using the techniques below. Create as many as you feel you need to do until you like the outcome. This was the final test board I did...and actually I may like it a little better than my actual counter...but oh well.... :).

Clean your counters REALLY well. Make sure there's not dust, gunk, residue...or what have you...left behind.

Lightly sand the counters. And then wipe them again so no dust is left behind.

Use a really good oil based primer like BIN, and paint a coat of primer. Let it dry at least 4 hours, longer if you can.


Paint a base coat over the entire counter. I used the lightest color first, then applied the medium color, and then the darkest...but I'll get to that part. Let the base coat dry at least 24 hours. I let mine dry longer than that and I think it helped it set up a bit before I applied the next color.

This is the part I was terrified of because I'd never faux painted really wasn't as hard as I thought it would be, though. And really, if you mess up you can always add more paint, or even repaint the base coat if you need to. Repeat to yourself "no stress..."
Lightly dip a slightly damp (but not wet) paper towel in your 2nd paint color.

Lightly dab it onto the counter, being sure that you're putting it on lightly enough to let the base coat still show. I think it's better to start applying the paint kind of sparingly and then add more later if you feel you need to.

Let it dry at least 24 hours. Oh, and if you're anything like me your hands will look like this after this step.

If I thought I was scared of the second color, I was shaking in my boots by the time I needed to apply the third color. After all that work I definitely didn't want to mess it up at this point. But again, you can always fix stress.

Since I wanted the color of the counters to be really subtle I mixed some of the darker wall color with some clear glaze. I then used a damp paper towel to randomly apply darker sections to the counter. This is where I REALLY studied the patterns in my sample tiles.

I was worried it was still going to be too dark, so I went back over each section (immediately after I applied the paint) and misted it with water and then blotted and sometimes buffed with a damp paper towel.


Apply at least 2-3 coats of a non-yellowing polyacrylic topcoat, letting it dry a day between each coat. I used polyacrylic rather than polyurethane because A) I've heard polyurethane can yellow, and since I was using such light colors I didn't want that to happen, and B) I had several different paint stores tell me that since polyurethane is oil based you can't use it over latex paint. I don't know if that's true or not, but I didn't want to take a chance. I think if you use oil paint rather than latex you can use polyurethane just fine.


I've heard with granite you want to use more of a splatter or sponge method than a dabbing method, so it's more speckled and less blended.

Also, a while I saw this post where a woman had used that speckled stone-look spray paint to just spray her counter and then applied a top coat. She used a charcoal grey version of the paint, and it really does look pretty amazing.


Since I painted the countertop fairly recently I can't give you a definitive answer on this, except to say that mine has held up great so far and everything I've read says they hold up reasonably well (as long as you don't poke at it with a knife or anything like that). Also, I'd be careful about having anything like hot pans or curling irons on the counter. But really, for maybe $30-$50 and a whole lot of satisfaction for not having to look at an ugly counter anymore, I think it's worth it.


I hope this is helpful. Feel free to let me know if you have any additional questions.

Big Thanks!

The wonderful Julia at Hooked on Houses featured my kitchen makeover today, and while I should be all full of myself about it, I'm actually pretty darn humbled. "My little kitchen...aww, you shouldn't have." Thanks Julia!

You can read more details about the makeover here and here.

And I wanted to give a big thanks to those of you out there that have multiple decorating personalities like I do. It feels so much better knowing you're not alone.

Here are a couple of my favorite comments from yesterday:

I have the same problem. In fact, my twins argue according to season.
I just can't resist all white ktichens with little splashes of color in the
spring time. But around Fall and winter, I crave me some heavy bold colors and beautiful black distressed cabinets.
- Katie
I'm not a Gemini but I suffer from the same split decorating personality.There are always at least two different directions I want to go with any decor project. I think of it as the Plague of Overinspiration. - Rebekah

And finally....the one that sums it all up.

I am a Gemini and am currently in the process of painting all of my
previously-painted white furniture black. :)
- flowerpatchfarmgirl

THANK YOU! It's so good to know I'm not alone. And neither are you apparently :-).

Being a Gemini is Exhausting

Monday, April 20, 2009

Are there any other Geminis out there? Do any of you fellow Geminis feel like it's almost impossible to decorate a room and be happy with it for any length of time because your "twin" will want a different look in a few months?

Why do I ask, you say? Oh, I don't know. It could be the fact that I've worked on my master bathroom for nearly 3 months now and I can't quite finish it because the twins keep bickering with one another.

Twin A: I want a light and airy bathroom.

Twin B: Oh, please. Give me some contrast. You liked the contrast
in the kitchen, right?

Twin A: Yeah, but this is the bathroom. Can't we have
a beachy look?

Twin B: Beach-Shmeach, I want a luxurious European flair.
It's exhausting I tell ya. So since I haven't been able to get my act together enough yet to give you the full reveal, I thought I'd show you what I have been able to get the twins to agree on...and accomplish.

First here's a before photo of my bathroom to refresh your memories.

Perdy right (...heavy sarcasm)? I especially love the burgundy laminate countertop (even heavier sarcasm). And I should note that this photo is with the PREVIOUS OWNER'S stuff. Am I ashamed to claim the burgundy candles and flimsy green towels as my own?...yes, yes I am. Boy I hope they never read this blog.

Well I took care of that countertop straight away by painting it to look a wee bit like travertine. Not bad, eh? Don't worry, I will do a tutorial in the very near future....oh, and I will be replacing the faucets.

I also removed the giant wall mirror and replaced it with two cute little oval mirrors from Lowes. I'll probably hang my faux vintage grain sack between the two (um, ignore the fact that it needs to be ironed...I didn't notice that until now).

I originally wanted the fancy tilting kind, but I was able to get two of these for just a little more than the cost of one of the tilting mirrors. I couldn't argue with those numbers.

I knew I needed to come up with some kind of storage solution for the weird empty space in the corner, so I bought a bookcase that was just the right size, painted it cream and adorned it with a little skirt to hide its legs.

Not bad for $48, a little fabric and a few upholstery tacks.

And...that's pretty much it for now. I'd show you more, but the twins are still bickering so I'll have to get back to you after I've been able to mediate and reach a mutually satisfactory solution.

Tagged...A Little Bit About Me

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

I have been tagged by Ellie over at TheTwinsMama to share some information about myself and Amanda at Serenity Now to list 7 things I love. So I'm kind of going to combine both into one - I hope that's ok.

7 Things I Love:

1. Dessert - Anything with chocolate, peanut butter, cream, crust, pastry = heaven. Fortunately for my snug little jeans, I don't indulge very often.

(Tollhouse Pie at the Dodo in Salt Lake City...To-Die-For!)

2. Mexican Food - I could eat it everyday. I love anything with cheese, sour cream and a flour tortilla. Again, good thing I don't let myself eat it everyday (Um, should we be concerned that my first two items are food?...I'm just sayin').

3. Almost anything from Banana Republic or Anthropologie - Really, can you blame me?

4. Movies - I love movies. I could go every week. I like anything from spy movies, to historical movies, to chick flicks. I don't like anything disturbing though, which pretty much leaves horror movies or anything nominated for an Oscar out....just kidding...kind of.

5. Travel - I love seeing new places. It doesn't matter if it's The-Middle-of-Nowhere, Oklahoma or Europe. I love seeing how other people live.

6. Music - I always have to have music near me. It doesn't matter if I'm cleaning, getting ready in the morning, in the car, at work (when my boss isn't there)...I love music.

7. Hanging Out With My Boy - Ok, that's a little pathetic, but we have fun together.

( He really is happy, he's just trying to look tough.)

7 Things I Don't Like:

1. Waking up Early - I'm definitely NOT a morning person, but I do it anyway.

2. Wierd Seafood - I have a reluctant relationship with seafood. I'll eat it if there are no claws sticking out, or a face on it, and if it's cooked....and I won't eat shrimp. It looks like a bug to me.

( Um, do you see that wierd claw thing sticking out? Yeah, I'm not into that.)

3. Cooking and Grocery Shopping - I do it anyway, but I'm really not into the whole food gathering, planning and preparation thing. It's so much work! It's much easier to eat out. Honestly, the whole food aspect of our lives stresses me out. Do I really need to bring home the bacon and fry it up too? Really?!

4. Walmart - I have a love/hate relationship with Walmart. I love the low prices, and hate everything else about it. Sorry Walmart.

5. Things that I Love but Can't Afford - I know, who doesn't feel that way, but I had to say it.

6. Things I Don't Love and Can't Afford - Ahhh, don't we all love car repairs?

7. Being Away from My Family - I really miss going to breakfast and shopping with my mom, and I really miss hanging out with my dad on Saturdays.

Art on a Shoestring - Alicia Bock

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

I love Alicia Bock's photographs. They have such a dreamy quality to them. I imagine her having the coolest something out of a Ralph Lauren ad or a French movie.

You know, wandering through sundrenched fields,
or strolling up and down the beach with the wind whipping through her hair,

or sitting at a French cafe sipping lattes and snapping photos.
I know noboody's life is really that dreamy (she is a mother after all), but that's the sort of ambience her photos have.
I recently bought a package of five of Alicia's postcard prints for $8. I was originally only going to frame a couple of them but I loved them so much I came up with a new plan. I tacked some twine to the wall like a clothesline and then hung the postcards with mini clothes pins.

Tres lovely...(yes, perhaps I should work on my French).

Alicia also has larger prints available for $35 on her Etsy shop or on her website, which is very reasonable in my humble and thrifty opinion. Not that she needs free advertising from me since she's a superstar and all (seriously, her stuff has been on Grey's Anatomy and Sex in the City)...I just had to share with y'all.

Inspiration that Sticks with You

Monday, April 13, 2009

I hope everyone had a great weekend! We sure did. We drove to Kansas City to spend Easter with family...the way it's really meant to be celebrated.


Do you ever have a decorating photo that just sticks with you? You just can't seem to get it out of your head? There are plenty of photos out there that I really like, and plenty I love...but every once in a while, I stumble on one that puts me in a decorating trance. I hope I'm not alone in this.
Here's the most recent photo that's been sticking in my creative little brain.

It's from The Home Book (which I finally returned to the library after renewing it as many times as they would let me), and I just love everything about it. I love the soothing color palette, the fluffy cushion and pillows that beckon you to curl up and stay a while (and knit a color coordinated scarf...if you know how). I love the mix of fabrics on the pillows, the sumptuous window treatments, and the charming white woodwork. I could design an entire room around this photo.

Here's another one that has inspired me. It's from Cottage Living (R.I.P...sniff), and I keep referring back to it even though I'm pretty sure I've memorized every detail at this point.

I love everything in this room, the comfy white chairs, the brown ticking stripe pillows, the cool brown fabric on the ottoman, the neat details on the mantel and coffee table. This could be my living room and, even I, wouldn't get tired of it.

Here are a few photos that inspired my kitchen makeover.

Photo: Cottage Living

Photo: HGTV Rate My Space - JBeachem

Photo: Unknown via Camilla at Home

Here's one more that I keep going back to over and over again. It's the fabulous Meg Duerksen's gorgeous master bathroom.

Umm, looking back at these photos I guess it's pretty easy to guess what color palette I'm most drawn I guess that's the point of inspiration photos that really touch you, though.

If you haven't already done so, I'd highly recommend going through your favorite photos, placing them side by side and looking for similarities. It's very enlightening I tell ya. And when you find those photos that make you get all googly eyed and adrenalized hang on to them for dear life. :-)

Happy Easter!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

I hope everyone has a wonderful Easter weekend! Here are some inspiration photos in case you need to do some last minute decorating. They're all from You have to admit, Martha does the "pretty" part of holidays right.

XO ~ AnNicole