Wednesday, October 27, 2010

A Done in a Day Project For The Mantle

I bought two of these sweet little ceramic urn vases at a local thrift store on 50% off day so I paid just $2.50 each.  One had an "as is" sticker, but it was just because of a small stain.  I just turn the stained area to the wall.  I mean for $2.50 who cares about a little stain?

Then the dilemma began as to what to put in the little urns (that I had determined would go on the mantle).  I don't have a cutting garden and I can't afford to buy fresh flowers weekly to keep them filled, but I really wanted something "green" but not an artificial plant.  

I finally decided on decorative moss balls.  Since I needed a very specific size to fit perfectly into each vase opening, I decided to make my own.

I picked up two foam balls and a sheet of the instant green moss at JoAnn's which ended up being super cheap because I had those handy 50% off coupons.

I got out my trusty glue gun and got down to it.

And many minor and one major (ugly, blistering) burns later, my moss balls were done and looking lovely in their little vases.

I'm still awaiting the arrival of these candlesticks I ordered from Restoration Hardware that will eventually flank either end of the mantel.  However, I just received yet another notice from Resto that they are delayed until "early November" so who knows?  It may look like this until the Christmas decorations go up in a few weeks.

Off to work....

Monday, October 18, 2010

The Foyer (finally) Got Its Makeover

I've said it before and, sadly, I must say it again, I'm a bad blogger.  I can't believe it's been a month since I last posted.

I actually tried to post a few times but was unsuccessful.  I won't bore you with too much detail but I took my macbook to the "genius bar" at the local Apple store to have it upgraded and he accidentally wiped out my hard drive. hurt.  Still hurts to remember it.  After the Apple expert (stuck to the experts on their phone help line this time) patiently worked with me over several days, we restored much of the drive but some things just don't work the same way.

I tried a few times to post and just as I was finishing up the post, it would abruptly "blow up".  Nothing.  Everything wiped out.  My choices were to throw the laptop at the wall, cry or shut the lid and walk away. I chose walking away cause I really need the laptop and crying....well, it isn't much fun is it?

So a month later, here I am.  I've been crazy busy and my business is really picking up (yay!!).  Still, I've been finding time for lots of little projects that I plan to share.

We left off with my foyer that I wanted to makeover.  After having had my garage sale, I had a pretty good grip on what I had stashed away.  So I decided on a wall of retro images .... mostly black and white with just a couple in color and I actually found ones I like within the same color group.  I also had a nice supply of black frames and white mats.

For this frame, I just pulled three vintage looking post cards from a book of post cards I purchased...ummm...well, a loooong time ago.  I think it was while living in my second apartment.  Wow, I kept those things for a ridiculously long time.  But hey, they did come in handy :)

This black and white exhibition poster I bought at an artists studio in Cleveland's Little Italy on one of the art walks I attended about 13 years ago.  They had a ton of old advertisements and posters in cheap plastic frames for about $1 each.  I was looking for cheap art for my guest room and this fit the bill.

The sketch of Jackie Kennedy I cut from an old coffee table book on the 60s and the sketch of Grace Kelly I downloaded from the web.  Both were chosen because I love their style.  Jackie for obvious reasons.  Grace because she was such a mystery and truly a classic movie star.  No one has mystery today in the age of TMZ.

This Derry & Tom's poster was purchased at the same art gallery as the exhibition poster, also in the same cheap plastic frame I bought it in.  Derry & Tom's is an old London department store that no longer exists.  I love that the oranges, tans and black echo the vintage post cards in the top frame.

For my initials I just went to JoAnn Etc. and purchased those cheap wood letters and spray painted them white.  This is my first and middle initial.  I attempted to put my last name initial as well, but it chose to plunge to its death and shatter after I hung it.  I did buy another one, but when that one also attempted to plunge to its death (I managed to catch it in time), I decided it was best to just leave it at these two.  Who needs a last name?

Lastly, I cut this photo of a 60s art installation from the same book I cut Jackie's sketch.

On the other side, I simply swapped out the large gold mirror for this more contemporary mirror with coat hooks mounted on the sides.  It was hard to get a good picture of it without getting major flash.

So that's my use what you have makeover of my tiny foyer.  Happily only one letter was harmed in the making of this foyer wall.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

I'm baaack!

After a rather painful episode involving the "genius bar" at my local Apple store, I finally have my macbook up and running and almost restored to its original magnificence.  Some things are lost forever, but that's life right?  Always hand over your laptop with great apprehension and never do so without backing up your hard drive before hand.  Lesson learned.

On to my current project.  I'm giving my teeny tiny foyer a cheapo makeover.  Prior to selling much of my junk this past weekend in a garage sale, one wall of my foyer looked like this:

The other side had a larger gold mirror (all of the mirrors sold in the garage sale - yay) that I forgot to photograph.  Rather unremarkable but it served its purpose.

For my makeover, I wanted to replace it with a larger more contemporary mirror.  I haunted the aisles of the local Home Goods for weeks and this weekend finally hit pay dirt when I saw this:

Keep in mind it's actually upside down because that happened to be the way I pulled it out of the car and it was rather heavy so I elected not to mess with righting it until I'm ready to hang it (either tonight or tomorrow).

Best part are these hooks (again, photographed upside down because I'm too lazy to go into iphoto and flip the picture)...4 in all...that you can hang your keys or a hoodie on to grab on your way out the door.

For the opposite wall, I'm going to cover it in black framed posters, photos, etc that I had around the house.  I only had to purchase a couple small black frames from JoAnn's (using my 40% off coupons) for the few things that didn't already have frames.

I can't wait to show it to you :).

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Crisp White Bedding = Sweet Dreams

Bedrooms have been on my mind lately.  Specifically, I love how virtually any color comes alive when it has some crisp white to contrast with...white wood trim, white bedding, white accessories.  There's nothing like crisp, clean white bedding to make you want to crawl into bed and dream a little dream.

Here are some real life (i.e. people like us) bedrooms from BHG readers.

I love the way the soft yellows and gray play off the crisp white (not to mention the dark wood raised ceiling).  The ghost chair is the perfect touch.

Sage and white...very sophisticated.

Love the traditional navy and white with dark wood furniture.

Chocolate walls and white bedding...soooo perfect.

The picture below I included for just one reason...check out the floor.  No, not the beautiful glossy dark finish...check out the stairs leading up to the glossy wood floors.  The bed was placed on a platform within the bedroom.  I don't know about you, but I wouldn't make it through one night in this bed.  One trip to the potty at 2 AM and it's all over...SPLAT.  Hurts just thinking about it.

What are your favorite colors for a bedroom?

p.s. Stay safe out there.  No platforms in the bedroom please.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Spend or Save? Vintage French Linen Pillows

If you follow design blogs, chances are excellent that you've come across the new rage in throw pillows.  They're usually made of vintage linen, burlap, grain or feed sacks and often have a few words in French or a symbol on them.  And the range in prices for these babies is all over the board.

Let's start with these very pretty versions from Tuesday Morning:

Tuesday Morning's versions range in price from $24.99 to $39.99, but If you have experience with TM, you know it's hit or miss and when the featured item is gone, it's gone.  They won't be restocking the item.

Next up is Restoration Hardware, featuring the vintage linen pillow covers (inserts sold separately) ranging in price from $28 to $32.  I can tell you from experience, they're super soft.

Pottery Barn gets in on the action with a vintage grain sack version, prices ranging from $89 to $99 with inserts sold separately.

And if you're just positively flush with cash (you lucky, lucky girl), MySparrow on Etsy is offering up a pair of these for a mere $450 (pretty sure I have furniture that didn't cost that much, but hey that's just me ;-)).

Now go lay your pretty little head on something soft and vintage...oh, and French.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Shabby Chic Goes Super Sophisticated

Back in 1989, Rachel Ashwell opened her first Shabby Chic store in Santa Monica, California and the look quickly gained momentum across the U.S. throughout the 90s.  I loved the look as much as the next girl, even going so far as to buy one of her books to read and reread (okay, let's be honest, I looked at the pictures).

I never did transform my decor into the shabby chic look, mostly because it just seemed so over the top feminine and un-guy friendly.  There were so many flowers and ruffles and girly things.  Still, I always thought doses of it here and there were gorgeous. 

Recently while perusing a Brit decor magazine, I came across a company that takes the shabby chic look to a new level of sophistication.  Many of their furnishings are quite contemporary, but still capture the shabby chic vibe perfectly. All of the following images are from their website,
and I think each one is more breathtaking than the next.  Enjoy...

Okay, I'm exhausted.  Go to the site...there is much eye candy to be had.  And if you love a traditional nursery, they have amazing baby rooms too. 

Monday, August 23, 2010

Spend or Save? Carved Candlesticks For Less

A couple of weeks ago, I mentioned that I had recently gotten a PT job at Restoration Hardware and that I had a wish list of goodies I wanted to use my awesome employee discount on, including these lovelies:

 I did break down and order two of the 18" candlesticks for my mantel.  They are back ordered until late October, so I can't show you how amazing they'll look on my mantel until...well, late October :(.

I decided to do a quick web search to see if a similar look could be found for less and here's what I found:

At, I found this 21.5" tall carved wood candlestick with a distressed finish that looks strikingly similar to my Resto version, except for the price...$112.50... GASP!!  The 18" Resto candlestick is just $49 without my discount and the 22" (1/2" smaller than than this avid-home version) is only $59.  So, you can get two of the 22" candlesticks from RH for a few dollars more than one of these avid-home candlesticks. 

This set of two carved candlesticks from can be had for a mere $231.00 and that's apparently a discount from the regular price of $288.75.

No thanks, I'll stick with my Restoration Hardware candlesticks.  I just wish I didn't have to wait two plus months to get them...sigh.  And no, unfortunately I'm in no way compensated by Resto for this post :-).

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Spend or Save?

Sometimes you find things at a high end store and think, "I could make that.  I know I could."  Then you start trying to assemble the individual pieces and parts and it quickly becomes clear that, although you might be able to capture the look well enough, you can't replicate the look without spending a fortune gathering everything needed to put it together.  And then there's the time investment.  If you're anything like me, this is where your lazy girl gene kicks in and you just pull out the wallet.

I have an accessory you can replicate in no time for a quarter of what it costs at retail.  Restoration Hardware is selling these bundles of old torn up books billed as Antiqued Uncovered Book Bundles, retailing for $29.

It seems silly really ...old torn up books...where's the appeal?  For me, it's just the colors and textures grouped together.  But if I ever paid $29 for them, I would hope my family would consider committing me for that 5150 hold thing Brittany Spears went through when she had her little break down.

Bottom line, a trip to the thrift store and some strategic ripping and binding (used the twine I  bind my recyclable papers with) later, I had my own version for the mantel:

I did purchase the cast iron letter C on top of the books.  The 4" version (they come in 4 sizes and can be hung on the wall as well) was $6 with my Resto that's $10 for you non employees :-).

Go tear up some books and tell me how it went.

Monday, August 16, 2010

My Windows Are Now Fully Dressed And Ready For Their Close Up

After three failed attempts with my normal standby,, I finally found the natural style roman shades I wanted online at Home Depot.

I climbed up on my step stool, drilled the holes for the screws (after much measuring, of course) and hung the shade on the first window.  I stepped back to admire my handiwork and pull the shades up to the desired length and ....nothing.  They just hung there all limp and pathetic.  I pulled the shade away from the window to see if the cord had gotten messed up and found the problem:

Every last one of these plastic rings was broken...ARRRGGGGGGG.  It was apparently broken before it was even shipped because there wasn't a single spec of plastic on the floor or in the box to indicate they broke post shipping. Anyway, after the agony I went through getting the darn thing up, I was in no mood to unscrew the screws and take it down, package it up and, AGAIN, have to send it back. 

I decided it would be far easier to find a replacement for the broken rings.  My handy Home Depot guy at the local store was on duty and advised me to go to Michael's, troll down the jewelry making aisle and find small metal rings that I could fit over the plastic.  One quick trip to Michael's later I found what he had described:

I had the new metal rings attached to the plastic ones in a few minutes and it works like a dream :-), happy.

 Now, if I could just get those curtains properly arranged and fluffed.  One crisis at a time...