Wednesday, July 12, 2017

piano revamp

I have to share a recent project that I took on, simply because I'm so pleased with the results!

So, you see this beautiful piano right here?

Well, that wasn't always the case. To keep a long story short, I saw a photo of this piano online and fell in love with its shape and potential. Luckily when my husband and I went to check it out, we discovered that despite some cosmetic problems, it still had great bones and no playing issues. After a very difficult time getting it to our home and up quite a few steps, it sat in the corner of our dining room, looking like this:

It was a bit worse for the wear, with some worn away and dated stain and various watermarks. Although, as you can see, my cat also recognized that all this thing needed was some vision, paint, and elbow grease to get it back to its former self ;).

I had come across a photo online of a charming room in an old french house that featured a blue-gray ceiling with gold stars months before finding this piano. I saved that concept in the back of my mind, knowing I wanted to incorporate it into our own home somehow. This piano, with its dreamy feminine look and historic French shape seemed like the perfect thing to try it on.

After priming the whole piano, being careful to cover the keys and that beautiful, gold Haddorf logo that I wanted to keep intact, I tackled painting it. Using a combination of a mini roller for the bigger areas and various brushes for the smaller,  I applied the color "Storm Cloud" by Sherwin Williams in Pro Classic Semi Gloss paint.

For the gold details I used Martha Stewart Metallic Craft Paint in "Gold." I know there are now a million gold metallic options out there, but, personally, I don't care much for brassy toned gold, so I thought that color did a good job of giving off a richer gold color. Bonus: I also used it to fix up the mirror that sits on top of the piano; that was a simultaneous revamp project that I had going on. For the gold stars I figured I would not pain myself with trying to get them perfect, nor did I know exactly how many I wanted to do until I saw them on the piano, so I decided to order gold vinyl decals instead and spare myself some sanity.

I think my favoite part of this project is actually the color I chose for the piano. The lighting changes a lot throughout the day in our dining room, due to the large amount of windows, so the color appears a cool grey in overcast and has almost a periwinkle tone when the sunlight hits it. Now the only thing left to do is polish my piano playing skills.

Monday, December 14, 2015

simple winter wreath tutorial

Ok, so this project actually started because I couldn't find a fairly inexpensive wreath that tied in to my Christmas decorating theme. However, my decor struggle/frustration, is your gain! Well, if you find the wreath in the following image cute:

Alright, you've made it this far; I'm assuming you dig it. Rad. Let's do this thing!

Here is a list of what you will need:
- twigs/branches
- twine
- glue gun
- small putz or wooden house
- bottlebrush trees of various sizes and colors
- white spray paint
- a lightweight ornament.
- wreath hanger (optional)

The best part about the beginning of this project is that the first material is totally free. Get yourself outdoors and gather up branches of medium thickness... or at least my definition of it, which means: not too flimsy that they'll break easily but not too thick that snapping them by applying force is not possible. You will probably need to snap some of the branches to get them to be similar in length.

Next, find a surface to work on that, to put it bluntly, you don't care so much about; working on this will create a bit of a mess. For projects like this, I usually just use a large piece of flat cardboard because 1. you can make a mess on that all you want and 2. it is portable (which will come in handy later when you have to spray paint that wreath).

Begin by setting up the framework for your wreath. You will do this by overlapping six branches of in a roughly hexagon shape.

Once that is set up, start tying the branches together where they intersect. I tied mine in one direction, then crossed the twine over and tied it in the opposite as well, triple knotting it to ensure a stronger hold. I didn't need to use the glue gun on mine at this point, but if the other branches are moving around too much while you are trying to tie them, you may want to glue them into place beforehand.

Now that the frame is done, you can start adding additional branches on top in the same hexagon shape. The trick is to weave them in one another so they are all relatively the same height stacked up. For my wreath, I decided to do a height of three branches per section. Four may work as well, and may make it a bit sturdier, but I would check the size of your wreath hanger if you plan on using one; my wreath would have been too thick to fit in the hanger if I would have done any additional branches. You can then use the same tying method with the twine to secure everything in place where all the branches intersect once more.

You'll then want to add two additional horizontal branches that run along the inside of the top and bottom of the wreath and secure them as well. Lastly, use some hot glue by every tie off spot to make sure things don't move around too much. 

Once the glue is dry, you can then proceed to spray paint the wreath. In a well-ventilated area, coat the wreath evenly. I ended up only using one coat because I wanted some of the brown and texture from the branches to still peek through; you may want to do the same. Do make sure to coat the twine though so it doesn't stand out too much.

After you've allowed the spray paint to dry, you can then tie your ornament in the middle of the top horizontal branch. If you are looking for ideas on what to use, star or snowflake shaped ornaments look really cute on this wreath. Or, if you are looking to build on the retro Christmas theme, you could use a vintage Shiny Brite ornament (ones with patterns, textures, or indents all work well).

Now you can move on to using the glue gun to secure your house and trees into place. If you are having trouble finding a store to get either of these, I got my house (orignally an ornament) from World Market and my assorted pack of trees from Jo-Ann Fabric. Jo-Ann Fabric also has small putz houses that could be used as well. I glued my house in the middle of the bottom branch and then placed trees around the bottom portion of the wreath. I would suggest mixing up the sizes and colors of the tress for a more organic look. Lastly, give everything a few minutes to let all of the glue dry.

And now (get excited) ... drum roll please... you are all done! Hang up the wreath and take a look at your handy work. Marvel in its greatness! I mean, technically I can't see it, but I'm assuming your wreath is looking pretty darn great.


Wednesday, August 26, 2015

book stack quoteables tutorial

Do you find inspiration in the words of others? Do you enjoy making your place look cute? Well then I have a treat for you... boom:

The little book quotes above take very little time, money, or resources to make. They are also pretty versatile; you can see that just by changing the paper and font, how easily I made different looks to tie in to my own decor. 

I wanted them to read a bit like book titles so don't hate on my general lack of punctuation ;). Stylistically, you are free to do as you please however; I want this tutorial to serve as a jumping-off point for some rad book projects.

Ready to dive in? You will need the following:
- some books. I used small ones so that I could just print on standard 8.5 x 11 inch paper and have that cover the whole book. The tutorial will be based off of that size.
- paper that can be fed through a printer. Your choice of style.
- any program that you can type in that also shows measurements/has guides.
- a quote/part of a poem/lyrics etc that you want displayed.

Start out by measuring the spines of your books. Write down both the width and the height. You can make it easy on yourself by picking books that are generally the same size so you won't have to change dimensions while working on this later on your computer. I would also suggest figuring out how you are going to break up and distribute your words between the books beforehand so you know how many you will need.

When you are ready, open up your program of choice. I used Photoshop because it is always open on my computer and my go-to. Create a document that is 10 inches high and has a width that is slightly less (I did around a half an inch less) than the height of your book spine. Drag two horizontal guides down so that they create the width of your book spine right in the middle of your document. If you don't have guides in your program, you can always use the rulers to eyeball it. You can then start typing your words inside the spine area. I would suggest making the type a bit smaller than the selected area, so that it isn't too close to the edges of the spine when you fold the book cover later. Once you are ready to print, make sure you select the option to center the document while printing.


This next part you might already know how to do. In fact, it'll probably take many of you back to your grade school days of having to cover your text books.  If not though, do not fret; I've got you covered (*cough* bad joke). Start by placing your printed quote face down on a work surface. Open your book to the middle and place the spine of it directly over the area where the quote is printed (which should still be on the other side of your paper). Fold your paper along the top and bottom of the book to create a fold line then remove the book and fold down both sides properly.

Place the book back on the paper and do the same folding method with the sides. However, this time you will tuck the front and back covers of the book into the little "pockets" that those last folds created, securing the book into the paper cover.

Repeat this process with each book until they are complete. Just stack them and you will be all set to show off your creation. You can check out a few photos below of the two different styles that I made so far: 

If you use this tutorial, please let me know! I'd love to see what creations you come up with!

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

living room is complete!

I thought I'd share a few photos of the living room now that it is all finished. I'm really happy with how it turned out... and even happier that it is done! Let's just say that when you want to do a simple retiling of the floor by fireplace, only to find out that you have to bust through layers of brick and concrete, you aren't getting off to a good start. However, I'd like to think that since that was our very first project, all that hard work better prepared us, making us a little wiser (and probably slightly more muscular).

There are also quite a few DIY projects within the photos below that I will be posting about a bit later. The posts will include tutorials on things like double exposure portraits, framed rock collections, and simple & inexpensive terrariums, so stay tuned! Until then, you can take peek at the progress:

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

accent wall inspo (it's also a two for one special, guys)

One of the main selling points of an old house is its awesome albeit sometimes odd architecture and all of the crafted details that come along with it. This is certainly the case with our house, and seeing how it is over a hundred years old, we have to definitely deal with a bit of the odd to enjoy the awesome.

One of the main culprits of weirdness is a very tiny hallway outside our kitchen. The hallway/wall (wallway? ... I may have coined a new term) area looked pretty pointless given its size, but, since it led to a half-bath and also served as one of the entries to the kitchen, it was kind of necessary.

The first spark of inspiration for this area redo took place when we found a very old wooden ladder stored up in the garage's rafters. We had some herbs (see previous post if that's your thing) that needed to be hung and dried out somewhere for use in or right by our kitchen. Since the ladder was way too long for such a small space, we ended up sawing it in half and sanding down the rough ends. We then screwed hooks that we picked up from Home Depot into the ceiling to get the ladder hanging. *Note: This particular ladder is very lightweight. If you decide to do something similar and you have a heavier ladder, you will need to use a more heavy-duty hook.*

As far as the above paint choice goes, I just love matte black and this little area seemed like a good place to experiment with that without going too crazy. We are also redoing our kitchen so that it will be a mixture of farmhouse/industrial and there will be some pops of matte black in there. Since this wall is visible from said kitchen, the black seemed appropriate... That's a good enough excuse, right?

The area was already looking a bit rustic and old-fashioned so I decided to just keep going with it. We have a collection of old family photos that I thought would look great in this area. For the frames, I decided to keep the color palette white and gold with black and white photos. I wanted the gold to serve as a little pop against the black since I didn't want the small area to look too busy. Knowing that the green of the herbs above would fade to a muted green-brown as they dried, I thought the sparkle of the gold here and there would add a little something something. 

Check out the photos below for the end result:

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

inexpensive herb garden DIY

sassy little red shoes not included

When we first bought our house, we were super excited with the decent amount of land we would be getting; we couldn't wait until we could set up some gardens in the backyard once the weather warmed up. Well, come spring, the snow had melted only to reveal to us an insane jungle of terror (I may be exaggerating, slightly). We now had all this land and an overwhelming amount of clean-up to do in order to make things useable. It was quickly becoming apparent that I may not get to plant anything this year.

One day I had the idea to make use of the small area around the edge of the railing on our terrace: a place that received great sunlight and, best of all, no yard required. Now, as most of you know, a new house = not a lot of money left in the wallet, so I had to make sure my experimental project wasn't going to cost a lot of money if it didn't work out. Luckily though, it worked out great for us, so I figured I'd share and maybe help out anyone else looking for a cheap herb garden solution.

For this project you will need:
- plastic flower planters (You can get these at the dollar store for, you guessed it, $1 each)
- zip ties (again, you can get these at the dollar store for next to nothing)
- a hole punch
- a drill & drill bit
- herbs of your choosing
- soil
- a railing in a sunny location

The first thing we did was drill three small holes in the bottom of the plastic planters. This allows the water to drain out of the bottom of the planter and help to prevent the herbs from being over-watered if they receive a lot of rain.

We then punched holes on either ends of the planters, to allow them to later be tied to one another via the zip ties. You'll also want to punch a hole in the middle back of the planter so you can tie it to the bottom horizontal bar of the railing. I would suggest punching a hole in the back of every other planter if they have a bottom to rest along or every planter if they are going to be completely hanging.

You'll then want to put some soil in the planters, drop in your herbs, and then place soil on either side of the herb to make sure the plant rests steadily in the middle. With time, if things go well, your herbs should start filling in all of the planter. A lot of the herbs in my photos were originally planted a number of weeks prior to this tutorial (in this tutorial I did a second round and added more herbs to the garden) and you can already see how much they have grown. They were all originally very small, taking up about 1/4-1/3 of the planter.

Once your herbs are in the planters, you are then ready to attach them to the railing and tie them together. This part is really simple: just thread the zip ties through the side holes, connecting your planters and making sure they are nice and tight, and also through the back holes, making sure the planters are secure to the railing.

After this, all you need to do is water your herbs. You are now free to admire your little garden.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Dining Room Centerpeice

Today I'm sharing the centerpiece display I created for our dining room table.

When I started, all I knew is that I wanted something simple, colorful, that incorporated some greenery (that our furry friends wouldn't be tempted to go after), and could easily be moved around if necessary.

Our dining room has two very large windows on either side that the sun enters most of the day, it seemed like a missed opportunity to not find a way to incorporate some living type of plant/flower into the equation. These cacti with their colorful tops seemed like a great, hardy solution:

We had a large collection of vintage milk glass left over from our DIY wedding a while back. This seemed to match well with the look I was going for and a good way to incorporate something from our wedding... I guess I'm a big fan of subtle sentimentality ;).

Lastly, I added a few various-sized candles in moss to not only add a little more greenery, but to add a little light on evening gatherings.

Our dining room isn't 100% complete yet, but it is getting there. So far I'm liking the colorful results.