Monthly Archives: September 2011

Adding all the fixin’s

Remember on Monday when the pesky blank wall in the studio went from looking like this:

…To this?:

Basically the idea was to paint frames directly onto the dry wall – I wanted the lines to be uneven and sketchy, sort of like a designer’s rendering. The next step (obviously…) was to fill the spaces inside my faux frames. For art, I went with things that inspired me – anything from patterned paper to a newspaper article printed about me last year – that way the space could become an interchangeable mood board. I even went so far as to rip two pages out of my very favorite design book “Flea Market Style” by Emily Chalmers (this was before I realized I could have just photo copied the pages on my printer…ugh):

The ragged edges were easily eradicated with a straight edge, pen and pair of scissors…

Here are some of the pieces of patterned paper I decided to hang:

All I used to hang the scraps (which is essentially what the “art” ended up being) on the wall was plain scotch tape. The purpose of this wall art is that it can be changed around as my interests and inspirations evolve – The easily removable tape was the perfect solution.

At last, we had a result to look at! I even made myself a little cozy corner to add to the whole effect 🙂 If you keep up with our blog, you know that usually the ugly bulk of an elliptical machine lives in this corner – Not this soft, warm, inviting little arrangement of a chair, magazine rack, ottoman and lamp…A girl can dream ::sigh::

But ANYWAY – Back to the new art collection…The sketchy quality of the lines is definitely still evident with the art added, but I think filling the “frames” did the trick in turning the painted edges from looking like a kindergarten’s school project into something intentional and interesting.

Here are a couple of details, although my feeling is that the singular pieces look a little archaic by themselves. The gallery wall is MUCH more successful as a “big picture”. But for curiosity’s sake…

SIDENOTE: You knew I had to put an owl in there SOMEWHERE…And yes, I put a real frame inside of a fake frame – Sort of a play on the fact that this whole project is essentially make-believe with that third dimension.

This angle definitely makes me want to cuddle up with a fleece blanket and a book, while intermittently gazing up at my new faux gallery 😉

I hesitate to even show you what it looks like on a regular basis when the reading nook is dismantled and the elliptical (and litter box) is back in place…But this blog is all about reality so here it goes:


Oh well – At least it’s better now with SOMETHING on the wall…Plus, maybe if I whine enough John will trade the bulk of the elliptical in for a foldable workout system that can gooooo awwwwaaayyyyyy when not in use. I would L-O-V-E to put a day bed in its place so that we had a place for guests to sleep over and a sofa/reading nook the rest of the time. Fingers crossed!!

For now, let’s go back to my day dream of what it could look like 24/7…

Would love to get your thoughts on this!

Have a great weekend 🙂

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Sketching out an idea

I think it’s safe to say that we all have that little spot, corner or wall in our homes that is foiling us – One particular place that is blank, poorly lit or we just can’t decide what to put there. Well sometimes the best way to tackle these pesky zones is to just experiment.

The spot in our home that continuously gets the best of me is an empty wall up in the studio. There’s usually a bulky elliptical machine in front of it (John nicely moved it out of the way for me last night so I could have access to the wall, as you can see in the photo below), and no art. Blankedy blank blankkkk…

It was killing me.

Thankfully, I randomly got the inspiration I was searching for while flipping through a design magazine at Barnes & Noble. I think I must have been perusing the pages very quickly, because it ended up that I didn’t actually see what I thought I saw.

Allow me to explain…There was one particular page that I was about to flick aside when I happened to notice a photo on the bottom right hand corner. It was a gallery wall, but not just any gallery wall – The frames were painted directly onto the wall! Upon closer inspection, it was just a normal gallery wall (the frames must have just been very thin and crooked) but the seed was planted in my mind and I had a vision.

The idea was to create my own gallery wall on the blank space, but use white paint instead of nails and wood! I wanted it to be kind of uneven and wobbly-looking, almost like a designer’s rendering or sketch of a possible frame configuration.

My first step was to find an arrangement I liked – I don’t like to go into an art project without something to go from. So I Googled “gallery wall” and came away with TONS of options:

But in the end, I went with this one because I liked the stacked arrangement and the mixture of round, square and rectangular:

Next, I grabbed a pencil and level to sketch the frames onto my wall. I decided that I didn’t want the frames to be TOO askew because I would constantly feel the urge to straighten them (which would be impossible since they’d be painted on). So the level was used to keep my OCD from boiling over.

For the round, non-straight-edged frames, I used found objects throughout the house – Like a plate, an oval platter and the chalkboard platter message board I worked on a couple of weeks ago.

I tried to take some photos of the entire arrangement penciled out on the wall, but as you can probably imagine, the lines didn’t show up very well…This was the best I could do:

Time for the paint! I just squeezed out a bunch of white acrylic paint, added about a tablespoon of water to make it more workable/spreadable and got to work!

Here’s the first coat:

And the second:

I decided to make one of the frames a little thicker to balance the ornate/antique-looking one on the lower right.

Definitely very sketchy and unfinished-looking, but I think it will all come together once the art is added in.

Speaking of the art, you won’t get to see that until Friday, but I promise to show the final product then! I’m looking forward to seeing my vision come alive. This is definitely one of my more original (and odd) projects, and I’m very interested to hear what you guys have to say. Don’t judge it TOO much yet though, since it’s not finished 🙂

Cheers to crazy visions and make-believe inspiration!

Psst…You can check out the final look here!

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Pinspiration Monday: To-Do List

It is actually a bona-fide miracle that this post is getting published today…Ever since about 2:00 p.m. Friday afternoon, I have been feeling the new-season-is-here blues. Sore throat, head feels like it weighs a million pounds…etc. etc. It was just me at first, but it didn’t take long for John to follow – So the two of us have spent our ENTIRE weekends alternating cuddle time with the box of tissues, chugging glasses of orange juice and watching crappy television in our pjs for hours on end. It was not a pretty picture. In fact, as I sit here typing up the post this morning, my sinuses sound a bit like a pug on a good day (i.e. baaaaad). But at least I’m finally on the mend…

So, that said, I didn’t get ANY projects done this weekend. But I didn’t want to leave you guys hanging – So for this week’s “Pinterest Monday”, I’m going to show you my top four most-anticipated projects to tackle.

First up, some art. I am still trying to decide if our new stencil wall in the living room needs art. I’ve been oscillating back and forth over a large mirror or a piece of abstract art – If I went the abstract route, it would probably be something like the photo below. Something colorful and emotional. It just looks like such a fun piece to recreate with a bit of watered-down acrylics.

Source: Young Socialite Tumbler

Who knew that you could use lace as a stencil?! When I saw the pin below, I was hooked on the idea. Lace is beautiful because of its intricate detail and pattern – So why not use that as a way to decorate a piece of furniture or canvas with the help of a $3 can of spray paint? I can’t wait to try this out…

Source: Kara Paslay @

You know I love anything with repurposed frames (take this project and this project for example) – So when I saw the pin below, I couldn’t help but put it on my to-do list for later. I love the pop of yellow on the frame and what OCD, Type-A girl doesn’t love a pretty way to display her inspiration or keepsakes? Love!

Source: Ashley Ann @

I actually saw this project in a BH&G magazine a while back and have wanted to try it ever since – The idea of using a white marker to add some graphic appeal to a solid colored surface is so fun to me! I think it brings me back to my middle school days of doodling all day long in the margins of tests or notes. Now I only need to find this special white sharpie they used…

Source: Better Homes and Gardens

Well there you have it! A quick run down of the things I WOULD have been up to this weekend if I had had the energy to even stand. Hopefully I will be back to 100% this weekend and can get cracking on some projects – Our house hasn’t seen a good redo in weeks because of our vacation and then this double sickness!

But one more thing before I go…I don’t know if you guys follow me on Twitter (if you don’t, you definitely should! Hint: look for a link on the sidebar to the right), but while at the beach I received the wonderful news that one of our DreamGreenDIY projects has made the cut over at “One Project Closer”!!! I had submitted my makeover to the project months ago, not thinking anything would actually come of it – But it was miraculously chosen and, as you can see below, was published on their AWESOME blog for all to see! So honored to have been given a spot amongst all of the other incredible makeovers featured on the blog…I also won a $50 gift card to Amazon for being chosen! I am planning on using it on another home makeover I’ve got up my sleeve, so stay tuned for that…

Check out the blog post featuring yours truly in full here!

But the competition just got a little more heated, because now readers are able to vote for their favorite “Before and After” project! The winner gets an additional $150 gift certificate and of course the knowledge that their hard work was appreciated by the cyber space of home redo junkies like ourselves 🙂 Vote for #12!!!

If you feel like my makeover deserves the vote, feel free to click on over to the website here and submit your opinion! But there are so many other awesome makeovers, so I give you FULL permission to choose the one you like the best, even if it’s not ours 🙂

So far, I’m not doing so hot:

But, like I said, I’m just so honored and thrilled to even be amongst the pack of other featured renovators!! If I’m able to inspire just one extra person through this bit of luck, then I’ll be satisfied.

Hope you all had a better weekend then we did! Enjoy your Monday 🙂

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Beach Trip Shopping Excursions!!

Before I get into this 32-picture post about my shopping experiences at the beach last week, I have a bone to pick with you guys…Why didn’t anyone tell me that I was two whole days off in my “First Day of Autumn” exclamations?! I would have bet my life that it was on the 21st and I must have spouted off about it on this blog at least a few times. But in fact, that special day is TODAY!!! I am super excited to ring in this “holiday” and can’t wait to see what our favorite season brings us. But seriously, ya’ll need to put me in my place when I am blatantly wrong!! I forgive you this time… 😉

But on to the real purpose for this post…

I will readily admit that I’m not a huge fan of shopping, at least not when it comes to the clothes variety. I tend to get a little overwhelmed and stressed. But I LOVE me some home goods shopping. Spending my hard-earned money on our nest just seems like a good and decent way to spend it. So when mom and I needed a little retail therapy during our vacation, where better to search out some home goods then at their local Home Goods store?! Duh!

Look at all the fall stuff that greeted us when we walked through the front doors…

And some Halloween stuff too!

Check this little guy out! It’s a lawn ornament =) So adorable…There were SO many owls in this store – It was  hard not to throw all of them into our cart.

And then there were pillows…Walls and walls and walls of pillows. I love pillows – I have a shelf PACKED with these fluffy accessories in our linen closet because they are such a handy way to change the entire look of a room without spending lots of money. Amazingly, all I did was browse in this section though…Didn’t come home with any new pillows!

Like I said, I didn’t buy any, but it was definitely a close call when I saw this one:

And the lamp section is sooooo nice! I really like how Home Goods stores plug their lamps in. You can’t really tell from this photo, but it gives the aisles such a nice, warm glow! It just makes you happy to walk through. Plus, their lamps are SOOO pretty! They have one for anyone’s style or taste.

So tempted to bring this one home – Love clearance lamps! But we don’t really need one…

Oh how I love Home Goods accessories…They are EVERYWHERE and you can truly find anything to go with your particular home. For instance, here’s something to pick up if your home is quirky and you like conversation pieces (like moi…):

And here’s something for the more traditional home, full of sophisticated pieces and rich colors:

I am really into reflective things at the moment, so this little side table was screaming for me to buy it…Alas, I neither had the $200 to spend nor a place to put it.

But for anyone looking for a budget-friendly way to infuse this trend into your home, they had a whole section of sparkly metallic accessories to choose from:

All-in-all, this was what I ended up purchasing:

  1. The lawn ornament owl I spouted off about above
  2. A clearance lamp shade for $15
  3. A hanging lantern owl
  4. A superfluous owl figurine (because I have a problem)

The last two stores I want to chat about are first, a shop on the island called Black Market Minerals (that my sister and I just call “The Rock Shop” – You’ll see why in a moment), and then lastly, a thrift store that we had never been to until this year called The Litter Box because it benefits the local SPCA.

This is what the aisles look like in “The Rock Shop”:

The shelves are filled with – what else – rocks! But they also carry jewelry made from natural stones and gems, wooden carved masks and figurines, incense, rain makers, etc. It’s definitely a quirky place to shop, but my sister and I love the dirt cheap prices and interesting fare.

This is just some of the bead selection…

Check out these neat little apple figurines made from heavy stone!

I tried SO hard to resist buying this “Hear no evil, See no evil, Speak no evil” carving, but after I snapped this photo and started to walk away…

This happened and I couldn’t help but take him to the register (the figurine, not John):

They even have neat SINKS made out of rock! But at $300 apiece, I decided it would be best just to snap a photo for you guys instead of purchasing it.

On to the thrift store! I didn’t buy much here (I’ll show you what I DID take away in a moment), but it was a pretty neat place. It’s definitely a dingy run-of-the-mill thrift store, but the people were friendly, the cause was GREAT and the selection was pretty darn good.

Thought this sign for “Sports Wear” was mildly entertaining. I guess those athletes are supposed to exemplify the meaning of sports. Anyone know who they are? I’m not a big sports person…

Well there you have it! A taste of our many shopping excursions on the island!! Here’s one last shot of my final purchases from the rock shop and the thrift store:

We’ve got:

  1. The “See no evil…” figure
  2. A stone owl (oddly enough, with an owl inside of its holey center)
  3. A little metallic wooden chest
  4. Magnetic note pad with the Hilton Head lighthouse on it for our fridge
  5. Two small stone bowls for dip? keys? rings?
  6. One of the rock apples – WAY too cool to resist
  7. And lastly, the only thing I purchased at the thrift store: A plate to add to our wedding plate collection
I guess it’s time for me to let the beach go and get on with fall…It was a wonderful vacation, but I’m definitely excited to trade in my bathing suit and flip flops for a cozy fleece blanket and Pumpkin Spice Latte 🙂
Happy OFFICIAL first day of fall!!!
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Beach Week Family Photo Album

If you tuned in at the beginning of the week, you know that my family and John and I all headed to the beach (specifically Hilton Head, SC) for a week – We got back this past Saturday and we are all still in a “tropical” frame of mind. I’m not 100% ready to be done with our favorite family vacay spot, so all this week I’m sharing our latest memories from “Hilton Head Trip 2011”.

Monday, I spent time giving you a tour of our home-away-from-home beach house. I also gave a quick taste of our back porch view of the sound, but promised a bit more (especially of the dolphins, which were a delightful surprise).

But before I get to that, I also mentioned a mini family photo album (minus my parents, who are a little camera shy 🙁 ). Don’t worry for those of you wondering where the home tips and projects went – We’ll get back to those kinds of posts on Friday when I give you a play-by-play of my beach shopping adventures!

Can you tell we are psyched to be in the 85-degree weather?

The wacky guy behind me is my younger sister, Kat’s, roommate – His name is Bryan. Love that kid.

One night mid-week, the four of us decided to check out one of my family’s go-to Hilton Head attractions – Harbor Town. It’s a quaint little shopping center nestled along the curve of a marina. There are restaurants, art galleries, trinket shops and a general store with all the little things you might have forgotten (ex. shampoo, suntan lotion, Sweettarts…Okay, maybe that last one’s not so imperative).

It’s also where the lighthouse is – A building my sister and I have climbed countless times, even though the view hasn’t changed for as long as I can remember. It’s tradition to climb to the top though! I was excited to share the memory with John this year, although I think his favorite part was flattening a penny in the machine halfway up the indoor staircase:

But I always enjoy the view from the top…

We took a couple of quick minutes to snap some photos and then headed back down for ice cream (also a Williams family tradition).

The next day Kat, Bryan, John and I headed to a place called Shelter Cove – This is very much like Harbor Town, with shops and restaurants surrounding a marina for boats. I think our favorite part of the spot was the playground though. John has been searching our hometown for a seesaw for ages, and was pretty pumped when we stumbled upon one on this day trip!

There was also a slide and some swings. What more could a pack of twenty-something “kids” want?! We are young at heart…

We were trying to balance the teeter…

Time for Kat to try! (with a little “help” from Bryan)

I just realized that there have been no photos of Kat so far! Well, if my parents are camera shy, my sister is camera PHOBIC. I usually get a shot of her poofy hair rather than her face. The photo above and the one below are rarities and show the true power of Hilton Head joy.

This type of photo is the norm – At least she has incredible naturally-curly hair to look at when she won’t show her face:

Notice a sneaky boy up on the monkey bars over my shoulder to the right?

Time for one last trip to the beach…Unfortunately the clouds rolled in preventing another long morning in the sunshine, but it was a good chance for a photo op anyway!

Despite the chilly air and overcast sky, the ocean still felt like bath water. So tempting.

Hope you enjoyed seeing a little bit more of us! I am almost ALWAYS behind the camera in day-to-day DreamGreenDIY posts, so I figured it was high time you met the person behind the scenes. It was a really nice break and John and I appreciated the time away from routine, but it’s back to reality. Luckily, our reality is pretty darn ideal 🙂

But before we say goodbye to playing in the sand and surf, here are a few last photos of the beach and our friends the dolphins (seen as little fins and noses along the water line).

And finally, here’s an evolution of the sunset our first night at the beach. It went by so quickly, but it was breathtaking. Why do sunsets always seem more vibrant and picturesque when viewed over water…Enjoy!

Stay tuned Friday for a rundown on my beach shopping haul away – We’re going to explore Home Goods, a local rock shop and a thrift store.

Have a great day!

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What we were up to last week…

Instead of our normal “Pinspiration Monday” post, I decided to interrupt so that I could explain what we were up to last week…We managed to sneak away for a MUCH-needed week-long vacation to my family’s favorite place in the world: Hilton Head Island, South Carolina. My parents went on their honeymoon there based on a chance suggestion from a travel agent, and the rest is history! The four of us (sometimes with a friend or two in tow) have been making the 8-hour trek to the island for the past 20 years and I’m not sure that any other family gets quite as excited about their vacation as we do…Let’s just say that mom has her grocery shopping list planned about 8 months ahead of time.

This year, we stayed in a house right on the sound, something we’ve never tried before although Dad’s been pushing it for some time now…He was RIGHT! In the past, we’ve stayed on the edge of luxury golf courses and even a marsh – But there is nothing, absolutely nothing, like being able to sit on your back deck eating Fruit Loops watching dolphins play in the water yards from your beach.

So this week is going to be ALLLLLLL tropical-related – I know that may sound a little ridiculous considering Autumn is officially here this Wednesday, but I’ve got too much to share! There are trips to beach thrift stores and a Home Goods store, the evolution of a sunset that is pretty neat to watch, a few personal family photos I thought would be fun to share, and today I’m going to give you a tour of our beach house. This IS a home blog afterall 🙂

So first of all, meet the house! This is a view from the back as I was coming back in from the beach. We actually occupied the right half of the home – The other half is for a family who didn’t check in until the day before we left, so for the most part we had the place to ourselves…

This is the living room with a view of the screened in back porch and the sound.

Turn around and you’ve got to the kitchen and dining room.

I just had to share a couple of shots of the “rug” under the dining room table…It’s actually a hand-painted faux rug which is sooooo nice since you aren’t constantly tripping over it with sandaled-feet coming in from the pool or beach, and you don’t have to wrestle with it getting in and out of your chair at the table. Very functional and practical, and it still retains the elegance of a real rug with its pattern and colors.

Here’s the money shot of the sound from the screened in porch. The water ended up being much closer than I think any of us anticipated – A wonderful surprise! When I noticed the dolphins, I literally gasped out loud. Doesn’t get much better than that…Photos of the dolphins to come Wednesday 🙂

This is the open-air lower deck that we also frequented quite often for a front row view of the sunset each night.

But back inside, the rooms were quaint and “beachy” – I’m not much for beach house decorating, but for those of you who ARE, maybe you’ll get some inspiration from these photos! It was a lovely house and I miss it already…

Here is my parent’s room for the week – They had a b-e-a-u-t-i-f-u-l view of the water from their windows…

And their bathroom – Love those industrial pendant lights over the sink.

A neat sculptural fish hung on the wall in their bathroom, although it ended up taking a flying leap off the wall of its own accord one day, scaring the heck out of us all!

This is the cozy little den where Dad’s laptop took up residence – Gotta be able to refer to trip advisor for the best new seafood restaurants on the island!!!

Upstairs, there were two extra bedrooms – The first is a smaller room with twin beds.

There was a cute little vignette on the wall in their bedroom – A photo of a child playing in the sunset, and an essay written by possibly the same child about why Hilton Head is special to him – Adorable and I had to agree with every word!

Loved this fun take on a peg board using colorfully painted valve handles!

This was the last room with a GORGEOUS second story view of the water. Waking up to that every day was priceless…

Gotta love fresh towels laid out on the bed 🙂 Felt like we were celebrities!

Couldn’t help but notice the pretty pattern on the bed spread…

Oh, and here’s that amazing view ::happy sigh::

This is the adjoining bathroom, which I totally fell in love with – Enough to pull out my paint chip book to figure out the color so that we can replicate in our own bathroom at home! Stay tuned for that in the coming weeks.

I thought the framed art was pretty neat…It’s actually several layers of cut paper, so that up close the shells are very 3-dimensional.

There you have it! Our little home away from home for one blissful week on Hilton Head Island…It went by SO fast, but I am still thankful to be back home in Virginia.

Here are some last photos of the beach before I have to cut this off – Almost 30 pictures is overload, so I’ll pick up on Wednesday with another handful. Those will be more like a family photo album – Hope you enjoy getting to know us a little more!

Have a great Monday!!! I’ll be trying my best to adjust back to work after a week off…At least I love my job 🙂

Update: We decided to share our wonderful beach vacay through Dwellable – A neat site for finding personal reflections and reviews on certain vacation spots.

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Kitchen Redo: The project that never starts

Thought I was going to say “…that never ends” didn’t ya?? Well normally that IS the lament over my more involved projects…But this time, we’ve got a To-Do List bullet item that John and I have been putting off for far too long.

The dreaded kitchen redo.

Here it is in all its peachy glory…

We’d L-O-V-E to just order something out of a catalog and call it DONE – Something contemporary or eclectic like these inspiration images:





But alas…We don’t have the funds for this type of reno. So instead, as “certifed” DIY-ers, the plan is to spend time searching for good online deals and basically just going with what we’ve got, painting the cabinets and picking up some new hardware for the doors/drawers. So far we’ve got the drawer handles! Although they are definitely not up yet…

Our hardware – 6″ stainless steel contemporary handles – actually came from eBay. I’m not usually a big eBay shopper, but when a quick search of Amazon turned up nothing in our price range (namely between “cheap” and “cheaper”), John suggested that I try eBay. He definitely put me in my place because I was able to snatch up 30 for $45.99. I just realized how AWESOME that deal was because the seller is now selling them for a whopping $100 over what we paid!! No idea how that evolution in price increase went down (or should I say “up”), especially since we only bought them in April.


Yes, I said April…The bag of hardware has been saddly living in the laundry room closet for the past five months. Can you tell that we are a bit apprehensive about starting this project for real? We’ve got the hardware, we’ve even picked out the paint color (Olympic’s “Seal Skin”) – We just need to pick a weekend and DO it! Easier said then done though.

If you want a sneak peek…You can see in this photo where we put up two of the door handles and the paint color we chose:

And here’s a close up of the paint from

I guess my next plan of attack is to take one of the drawer fronts off and head over to Lowe’s for a chat with their paint guy (or gal). I’m hoping that we walk away with a keen knowlege of sanding, priming, etc. – Also definitely praying that they tell us this is a week-long project rather then a month-long one.

For now though, we are going to stick to the “dreaming” phase…I don’t think I’m ready to tackle the “action” phase quite yet. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could just snap our fingers and it would be done?? I know I could totally do just that, but it would involve a couple thousand dollars and a few professionals to make that fantasy a reality…No can do.

Here’s to a few more weeks of procrastinating! But at least, now that I’ve told you guys all about it, you can hold us to it…

Have a great weekend everyone! Despite all of the disclosure in this post about a long-overdue project, we are definitely NOT going to get it done. Maybe in another month or two 😉

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Did I mention that I love fall?

Okay, I know by now you’re probably sick of me talking about fall…But I just don’t have it out of my system yet. So I thought I’d give you a little visual explosion of what’s making my eyes so happy right now. I’m also a tad bit busy with something this week…Yeah I know that’s cryptic. Don’t worry I’ll explain everything next week 🙂

Feast your eyes on what is inspiring me this September as we creep into the first-day-of-autumn homestretch. One week to go!















Pumpkins, orange, layers, leaves, candles, coffee, boots, oh MY!!!!

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Pinspiration Monday: DIY Chalkboard Platter

In my opinion, chalkboard paint is a DIY-ers dream. There’s something SO NEAT about creating your very own customizable, writable surface anywhere you want! I’ve seen people paint a swatch of chalkboard paint on planters or terracotta pots to mark specific flowers or herbs, I’ve seen people paint it on drinking glasses to keep the owners straight (although I doubt those are dishawasher safe…) – Heck, I’ve seen people paint entire WALLS in their homes to create massive message boards. LOVE!

Today’s Pinterest inspiration involves painting this amazing invention onto a platter – You can use this for posting a festive menu for guests (as seen in the Pinterest screen shot below), for marking a tray of varying desserts or drinks, or just for messages!

Source: Sarah Ortega @

For my project, I decided to make a message board that can be hung on the wall – My thought was that the pretty edges of a platter, like the one in the Pinspiration image, made a really unique frame for whatever is written/drawn on the chalkboard surface.

Luckily, I happened to have a platter just right for this project – It’s a plastic green one I found in the clearance section at Urban Outfitters. It was probably something like $3.99. Can’t beat that!

I thought the swirly edges would be perfect for showing off the chalkboard center.

It was a little bit dirty though…

Thankfully, all it took was a quick swipe of a Clorox wipe (is anyone else absolutely OBSESSED with these things??? Love them. Can’t get enough of them.) and it was all clean, ready to go!

The next step was to sand it down a bit. I used a fine sandpaper across the flat “tray” part of the plastic, just to ensure that the chalkboard paint had a little something to stick to. I tried to photograph this but it’s a bit hard to see…You might be able to pick it up when it’s angled toward the light coming through the window. But if not, just take my word for it…

Next I got right to painting! I already had a can of chalkboard paint left over from this calendar project so the entire process was FREE! Gotta love that…Oh and feel free to call me “Miss Steady Hands” from now on, because I was miraculously able to get away with painting the edges without masking – Not sure how that happened!

It ended up taking three coats because I wanted to make sure the surface was really stout and thick – One day of drying later and we were done!!!

I decided to hang it on the wall using 3M tape – The kind with the velcro-like edge so that it’s removable. That way I can take it down and display it on a table top if we ever do host a party that requires a quirky way to display menu items 🙂

But for now, here it is up on the wall! John’s good friend, Luke, celebrated his birthday this past weekend. Since everyone came to the house Friday night for a cookout, I thought it would be fun to shoutout to him on our new message board 🙂

A very simple and fun project – If you don’t happen to have a platter handy (or the one you DO have is a silver heirloom from your grandmother), then I suggest heading to your nearest thrift store or Goodwill. I bet you can find one there – It could even be a wooden one!

And thus continues my chalkboard obsession…Have a great Monday!

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Laundry Room: FINAL Cycle

This project has been a bit of a progressive one…But we are now finally finished! If you’ve been following along, so far we’ve organized the heck out of the space with new storage boxes, added a DIYed curtain with all sorts of button cuteness and created some custom art for the walls.

For the last couple of finishing touches, I tackled one last organization project and labeled our brand new storage boxes for easy grabbing.

First the organization project…

So most everyone has a plastic bag stash – We use recyclable bags as often as possible at the grocery store, but sometimes our purchases don’t all fit, thus we get plastic. Up until this point, we were keeping these in, guess what, A PLASTIC BAG! But said bag was getting a little bloated with its relatives.

So John and I made a quick Bed, Bath & Beyond run where, for a mere $10, we came away with this amazing invention: The metal plastic bag holder/dispenser!

Luckily, it was a snap to install – Just a couple of quick turns of my screw driver and we were in action.

See? Looks better already!

Time to fill ‘er up. I decided to count the dispenser’s bag capacity and it actually gulped down 32 bags!!! Pretty impressive. And it was very easy to do, just stick the bag down into the hole in the top of the dispenser and then grab from the long thin hole in the front.

I thought the photo demonstrating this on the box was too funny not to share…

I also went ahead and hung our two Swiffers by some extra 3M hooks I had lying around. No more toppled mop handles to contend with! Is it sad that I am incredibly pleased and satisfied with our newly organized and practical laundry room wall? I guess if you’re reading our blog, you are just as anal about cleanliness and organization as I am – So maybe you get joy from this too 🙂

So for the second and last laundry room update, I just had to show off the new labels for the red storage boxes we bought to clear up the chaos that was the shelving unit.

Bet you won’t meet too many people with a stash of tools AND hardware in their laundry room…Those are the two most-used boxes in that entire closet though – Hands down.

We also have some pretty standard ones, like towels and pet stuff, etc.

Here is the FINAL final photo of our laundry room redo!

We’ve sure come a long way from the blank white space we started out with. Feels more like a room now then just a closet…

I’m never exactly “finished” with a room per se, but for now I’m loving the coziness and practicality of it. It’ll be interesting to see how it shifts and changes in the coming year. Maybe some paint for the walls?? Now THAT’LL be a project…And not necessarily a fun one…

Hope you guys have a great weekend!

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