Monday, November 25, 2013

Photographs for the home

Some of my photos for sale, at my etsy shop found here:

And this is how they look, matted and framed, and hung over my sofa:

Monday, November 11, 2013

No sew pillows

At AC Moore, I found 3 yards of heavy gray fabric in a remnant bin for $6, and a stencil for $5 .  I had a pillow form already, and removed the pillow cover.  I measured it, then added 2" all around and cut out a rectangle from the gray fabric.  I used the stencil and white fabric paint for the design.  Once it was dry, I used hot glue for the seams, as I do not sew.  I bought two Ralph Lauren white on white damask placemats, which exactly fit another pillow form I had on hand.  I used the same stencil, but used pewer paint instead.  I then used self-adhesive rhinestones to decorate part of the stencil.  Once the seams were all glued, I used silver trim to decorate the edges of the pillow.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Fall wreath


straw wreath
drop cloth
natural coffee filters
Scotch tape
hot glue

I covered the wreath with 3- 4" strips cut from drop cloth, using hot glue to secure to the wreath.  I then folded and crimped together three or four coffee filters and secured the base with Scotch tape before gluing on the wreath.  I used 1" strips of drop cloth to make the roses and then burlap ribbon folded here and there.

Dining room makeover

The renovation of the dining room started in early September, flowing from the redecoration of the two front rooms, which incorporated more silver, gray and white into my color scheme. My whole house is done primarily in earth tones of brown and green.  The idea is to redecorate on a budget, largely by using the same furniture, finding items to use from around the house, and incorporating DIY as much as my creativity and dexterity allow.

So the dining room project began with repainting and reupholstering the bench and chairs in gray, then the rest flowed from there.  The fact that the hutch doesn't match the table top is a sore spot with me.  I love the hutch, and it was a real steal for $450 at HomeGoods, so it's staying.  I'm not crazy about the table and chairs, but don't want to spend money on replacing them.  So the solution was to sand and restain the table top. 

As Joe already knew before starting this project, maple is difficult to stain.  The Minwax stains were a failure.  So he consulted the experts and the solution was gel stain.  We found a color we thought matched fairly well, having carried one of the hutch's drawers into the store.  As it turns out, it's a little too red, and needs more brown in it.  So the adventure continues....

The room so far,with one coat of stain on the table, and legs unpainted
The ceiling fan needs to be replaced with a chandelier

Centsational Girl has a terrific blog post on painting furniture. She says that you don't have to sand furniture if you use a primer like Zinsser, so I followed her advice by mixing a latex paint in gray with Zinsser. The fabric came from JoAnn's.  Not only did I cover the chairs and bench in the fabric, but I made two valances for the kitchen.

Ryan commented about the huge improvement in the chairs after painting and reupholstering.
A teenager even noticed?  Wow, I'm impressed.  The apron and legs will also be painted in gray.

The armoire was moved down to the basement, and the one wall was painted with the same paint used on the chairs.  On it, I hung the mirror (taken from the front room), to make the room appear more spacious and brighter.  On either side, I hung sconces (also from the front room), bought at Pottery Barn years ago.  I wanted them to be more substantial, so I bought an oval wooden piece at AC Moore for $2, used Mod Podge to apply scrapbook paper to the center, and painted the edges with silver paint.this time.  This is now the backing to the sconce.

The hutch will be redecorated, getting rid of the browns, pinks and greens, and going white/gray/black.  I may use some of the white with silver edge dinnerware stored on the shelves and underneath for decoration on the table top and on the hutch.  I am also planning on lining the backs of the shelves, using paper once again printed off the internet.  Cost = free.

I came across a crown image for lining the hutch, inspired by the metal pieces bought at Michael's.  I found it here, and changed the color to a light gray when printing it.

An overhead view, taken while the table was still in the kitchen

Clicking through home decorating blogs, I noticed a series of posts about tablescapes, which got me interested in the idea of setting up the dining room table for a month or season.  Here's what I came up with, using the white with silver trim dishes stored in my hutch and clear wine glasses I already had; the silver and clear drinking glasses were $5 each; ; the silver, imprinted placemats were $4 each; the gourd and two pumpkins were $ 37; the crystal candleholders were $10 each.  All of those items were purchased at HomeGoods.  With a piece of scrap wood found in the basement, I covered it with scrapbook paper, ribbon and Mod Podge to make a centerpiece.  The bigger candles were $3 each from Christmas Tree Shop, and the tapers $1:

I used the metal pieces below for the napkin rings; the napkins, which I stenciled using three different paints and little rhinestones, were probably $15 for all four.

I made the centerpiece out of a scrap of wood;
the thick candles were decorated with silver ribbon; the same ribbon
was used to tie around the base of the tapers

This is what I scored at Michael's recently, for a total of $34.  All of the metal pieces on the right were only .75 each (used with the napkin rings).  Some of them are in gold, so I'll use the rub n buff to make them silver.  Michael's has a couple of clearance aisles, with some good stuff.  The pieces were marked $2 but rang up at the reduced price at the register.  Score!  The spider daisies were half off at $1 each.  The mini birch logs were $2; the burlap was only $3 (used for wreaths); the two ribbons were on sale - marked Christmas; the Martha Stewart flowers were full price at $6 (used on the silver wreath).

At AC Moore, I found 3 yards of heavy gray fabric in a remnant bin for $6, and a stencil for $5 .  With them, I made a pillow using an existing pillow form, stenciled in white ($7).  I used two Ralph Lauren placemats ($6.50) and the same stencil, this time in pewter, glitter and rhinestones ($2), to make a smaller, white pillow.  Both of these pillows are on the bench, placed under the mirror:

With the same gray fabric, a wire wreath ($2.69), floral stickers ($7.16) and ribbon ($1), I made a gray, silver and white wreath to hang in front of the mirror:

With another wire wreath, remainders of two kinds of burlap, and the remainder of the curtain I bought at the Salisbury thrift shop, I made another wreath, hanging on one side of the hutch:

I like the wreath that Lucy made here, so I decided to try one of my own.  Here's her version, using dried roses instead of my fabric ones.  I really like the way she styled it, hanging from a weathered window frame and with a silver set holding more hydrangeas.

I wanted my version to be whiter and lighter, so the dried hydrangeas I already had on hand were a perfect shade.  I wrapped the wreath with a curtain panel I bought at the thrift store for $4, and also used the material to make the ties and three roses, with plenty of fabric left over.  I bought wired burlap trim at AC Moore for more ties.  Total estimated cost:  $12.  I hung this one on one side of the hutch.

I've been obsessed with hydrangeas, collecting them from my yard and elsewhere, and using them through out the house.

Hydrangeas in hutch on a cake stand

In a plastic planter, spray painted in silver, next to the hutch

While browsing through my favorites yesterday, I came across this post featuring wall stickers.  This particular company is based in the UK, and the prices were not bad.  I actually considered buying one, until I realized that I just have to stop spending money.  That I don't have.  But it did get my creative juices going.  I also realized that patience was required in applying the sticker to the wall, and I wondered if the process was as easy as the video tutorial on the website.  Instead, I bought Avery full sheet clear labels and printed them with designs found on google images.

While I'm on the subject, I also used the following graphics for the interior side of the front door.  I lucked out in finding the two coordinating images from different websites.


Fabric for chairs, bench and windows: $50
Zinsser paint for furniture: $25
Minwax polyacrylic: $9
Wood finish stripper: $8
Burlap and hydrangea wreath: $12
Clock: $6
Sconces: $6
Tablescape: $115
Stain: $45
Two pillows: $15.50
Gray wreath: $11
Burlap and rose wreath: $4
Backing to sconces: $6

I've linked this post to the following blogs:

House on the Way
Tablescape Thursday

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Another room redone

So now that the first room is done, I'm working on the other side.  I bought furniture off craigslist one night:  A 60"W chest in almost perfect condition for only $100 in Natick and two blue gray upholstered chairs for $130 in Charlestown.  Thanks go to Joe, who gamely went along with me in his truck to pick up my finds.

The chest has dovetail drawers and nice hardware. I removed the hardware so I could change it from the dark finish to a bright silver one. 

The hardware after applying silver polish

On either end, I placed two lamps that had been in the basement.  I also put two decorative plates/platters on stands.  The dried hydrangeas on the chest and ottoman are from my garden.  I used the rub n buff on the hardware - it was easy and I like how it came out.

I painted two coats of the same paint used in the living room; painted the arch and the window trim with gloss white paint.   I kept the light fixture.

The chairs were a great deal at $65 each, but the seller could have disclosed that there was wear on the arms (as seen in the photo) and pen marks on the seat cushions and side of the chair, in addition to a brownish stain on the side.  I learned that rubbing alcohol can even remove paint from clothing, so I'm going to use that to remove the marks.  I also need to touch up the finish on the legs.

Update on chairs:  I bought rubbing alcohol and it completely and easily removed the ink marks and the brown stain on the side.  I was impressed.

With a fabric remnant bought at Joann's, I had just enough to make two pillow covers, using existing pillows. 

I moved the bookcase all around the room, and finally settled on it here. Almost every photo album is here, except for a few in the chest. And that's where I put most of the books; the books that I hadn't already given away to Salvation Army, that is.  The bookcase is lined with paper I printed using a design from google images of a fleur de lis, one of my favorite designs.

Detail of bookcase
More detail of bookcase
There were two mirrors already in this room, the white oval one and the large, rectangular, silver one.  The larger one is going in the dining room, and the round wall I hung on the same wall as the bookcase.

What I had previously in this room was a sofa table purchased years ago (probably 18+) from a store in Newton, called Yield House.  It has since been refinished in a variety of stains and paints, and also refitted with new knobs.  Well, it's time for this furniture to go.  I'll see if I can find a place for it in Ryan's man cave.  Underneath the table was a stack of three woven containers, two rectangular and one oval.  I gave them a coat of glossy white paint.

I have two 16 x 20 photo frames that I bought for $16 at a consignment store.   I spray painted the frames silver.  One has a one photo mat, which I spray painted white.  I used two photos of the new chandelier in the living room and hung the prints on either side of the chest. 

On either side of the window, I hung the silver candle sconces very close to the window frame, and then hung photographs I took of flowers in my garden.

After hanging the mirror, I thought how a small white table would look nice under it, and can hold a lamp.  Instead of buying one, I took the small cabinet from my bedroom, removed the door, and painted it blue-gray.  I lined the inside with the same paper used on the bookcase.


Chest: $100
Chairs: $130
Curtain: $20
Fabric for pillows: $7
Rub n buff for hardware: free with points
Silver pitcher: $8
Sewing box: $17
Prints and frames on either side of chest: $37
Prints on either side of window and on end table: $16

Total costs: $336