Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Adding a Decorative Touch of Color

In the midst of all my fall nesting, I did manage to create a couple of inexpensive decorative objects to add to my Master Bedroom and my boys' room.

Sometimes these small little touches can make an otherwise ordinary room, a truly fabulous one.  As I've mentioned in prior posts, I've been remodeling my bedroom, and recently started on my boys' bedroom.  For my room, I wanted a pop of the same blue that I had used on my Night Stands, Benjamin Moore's Wedgewood Gray, on my dresser!  I love the versatility of a serving tray. You can find them almost anywhere.  T.J. Maxx always seems to have some really adorable ones.  However, because I wanted a certain color, I knew I would need to paint the tray.  Well, I happened to stumble across some unfinished, pine trays at A.C. Moore, during one of my last visits.  There were various sizes, and styles.  They even offered a tray with folding legs!  The price for the tray.....$5.99, and with my trusty 40% off coupon, I snagged it for just over $3.00.  It's nothing too fancy, but exactly what I was looking for.

It actually was sanded fairly well, so I just took some fine sandpaper and sanded any areas that might have felt rough to the touch.  Since the tray had never been stained or painted, I didn't feel the need to use primer.  I simply took out the left over Benjamin Moore paint I had from my night stand project and began painting.  I used a small angled brush to paint all the corners, and sides, and any other small areas that a roller would not fit.  Then I used a small foam roller to apply the paint to all the other flat surfaces.  I applied two coats for good coverage, lightly sanding between coats.  Here's the finished, painted tray

And here it is on my double dresser in my bedroom.

I haven't quite decided what I should put in the tray.  But I just love that little pop of color that is carried throughout my entire bedroom.

But, I didn't stop there...oh no, I mentioned that I added some accents to my boy's bedroom.  Well, when I was cleaning and reorganizing my hope chest, I found several old picture frames.  I found two identical wooden frames, that were sized for 5x7 photos.  Well, no more than a month ago, we had my cousin, who is a very talented photographer, take our family portraits.  I love to use photos as art, and when decorating.  So, I purchased a 5x7 print of each one of my boys, individually, painted these two wooden frames and placed them in their bedroom.

Here's what the frames looked like before I transformed them
 They were actually olive green in color.  Well, my sons' room contains a lot of Navy Blue, so I thought I would paint them navy.  For this small project, I knew I didn't want to spend for a quart of navy blue paint, so I took one of my son's shirts (which was the exact navy blue I wanted) to Lowes.  They scanned the shirt and color matched the paint to the shirt.  I actually purchased a sample size of Valspar paint for $4.  This is an excellent alternative, if you only need a small amount of paint.  It was more than enough paint for these two frames.  I simply sanded the frames down to take off the polyurethane, and then began painting.  Again, I used a small angled brush to get the paint in all the nooks and crannies, and then went over everything with a small foam roller.

I applied 2-3 coats of paint per frame.  Again, I opted not to prime them first, as I was going much darker with the paint color than what was already on there.  I'm pretty happy with how they came out and they add, again just a nice pop of color and a really nice decorative touch to their bedroom!

Really quick and easy to do.  And, it only cost me $4, plus the cost of the prints!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Organizing Your spices!

Good Monday morning, everyone!  Well, the weather is getting much colder up here in the Northeast!  Just waiting to see the first snowflakes of the season fall, well I'm not anxiously awaiting or anything.  But, with the colder temperatures its only spurred me on to continue with this whole fall nesting thing.  This is all new to me, usually I get Spring Fever and clean all the time, but this Fall I just can't seem to get organized enough.

On to the next task.....tackling my spices.  My spices have always been stored in a cabinet in their original containers.  I really wanted some uniformity and better label system.  Take a look at what I'm talking about

Now most of my spices are located on the bottom shelf, but it just looks so cluttered and disorganized.  Okay, so the whole cabinet does!  But for now, I'm focusing on the thing at a time, right!  So, I started my search for the perfect spice jar, and ended up finding exactly what I was looking for at World Market.  They were only $5.95 for a set of 6.  I ordered five sets as I knew I had nearly 30 different spices.

  Stainless Steel Lidded Spice Jars, Set of 6

Once I had received the spice jars, they kind of sat in the box I received them in for awhile.  I knew I wanted labels printed to secure to the top of each jar, indicating what spice was in each jar.  But that's as far as I got with the project.  Until one morning in September, when my family had some very dear friends of ours over for brunch.  I was telling my friend, Missy, all about this project, and she thought it would be a great project to do, as well.  She is so extremely talented, as she produces stamp sets, and makes the most beautiful hand-crafted  cards.  In fact she even has her very own Etsy shoppe.  She offered to make the labels for the jars, and we agreed that we MUST do this project together - just another excuse for us to get together!  I have to give Missy some linky love....she's just too talented not to share her craft with you all.  Please check out her blog at Just Dandy and her Etsy Shoppe at Just Dandy Studio.  She is beautiful inside and out (she's on your right)! That's her cute son photo bombing us!

Fast forward to the month of October.  I sent Missy a list of all the spices I had, and she printed off the labels for her and I.  Missy used a very classic design for the labels, which I just LOVE!

Before Missy offered to make the labels, I did search the net for free printable templates for spice labels.  The options are endless, and there are many that are free, so just do a general search for free printable spice jar labels, and you will be amazed at what you will find.  Many also offer tutorials on how to print them.

The next step was to place the labels atop the jars.  To do so, we had to peel the back from each label.  This was a little time consuming, as it wasn't always easy to pull the two apart.  Missy was much better at it than me.

Once we adhered all the labels to the jars, I then began to fill them all with their respective spices.  I used a small funnel, which I also purchased from World Market.  It made transferring the spices from their original container to my new jars, a lot easier.

Here's how they looked once they were filled!

I hope to move my spices from the cabinet they are stored in now to a drawer, so all the labels will be easy to see.  When I get around to making that change, I'll be sure to share with you all the finished, more organized look!  I also wanted to mention a helpful tip Missy gave me...she suggested that I apply Mod Podge over all the labels, as Mod Podge is a water based sealer, glue and finish.  It will help to protect the labels from getting damaged, because essentially the labels are only paper.  I haven't had a chance to do this yet to my labels, but I have purchased the Mod Podge and intend to do so when I get a free minute.  

Perhaps I should now tackle the rest of the cabinet!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Sprucing up an old mirror

Hello all!  Happy Tuesday!  I hope you all had a nice Columbus Day weekend!  We had a really low-key weekend, but got to enjoy visiting with family and friends, which is nice because it becomes hard to find the time for these important visits when life is a bit more hectic.

Now that I have two mornings a week, with no children at home, I've been able to complete some projects around the house, and have even started a few new ones!

The latest project I completed was giving an antique framed mirror a face lift.  Last fall, I was on the hunt for a beautiful, over-sized scalloped mirror.  Of course, the first place I turned to was Craigslist.  I didn't hunt for very long before I stumbled upon an antique mirror with scalloped edges.  According to the listing, it was actually part of a two-piece dresser set.  The owners didn't have room for the mirror, but wanted to keep the dresser.  So, after multiple conversations with the owner, I decided I really wanted it.  So, we packed up the entire family on a rainy Sunday afternoon and headed to Portland, which is 1 hour south of me.  Upon arriving, I checked the entire mirror over, and it was in mint condition.  The dimensions were: 45 1/2" wide by 36 1/2" high, which was perfect, as I needed a substantial sized mirror.  I already had a spot in mind for it.  I planned on hanging  it above my bedroom dresser.  Currently, I have a tri-fold mirror, and it does look rather dated.  So, with a little face-lift, this "new" mirror would do the trick!

Here's what it looked like when I bought it, oh and did I mention I picked it up for $60!

 I loved the detailing and of course the scalloped edges.  

The dresser that I wanted to hang this mirror above is stained a cherry finish.  This maple finish on the mirror obviously would clash, and I really wanted the frame of the mirror to be white, as I have accents of white throughout my bedroom.  So, with that vision, I began the process.  First I covered the mirror with paper bags, as such.

I simply took paper bags and cut pieces, adhering them to the mirror with painter's tape.  Most of the time I was able to slide the paper bag between the mirror and the frame so I didn't have to worry about paint seeping through a crack or area where the bag didn't abut directly up against the frame. Once this was complete, I loaded up my Paint Sprayer with Behr, Semi-Gloss White Latex Paint.  This is a paint you can buy right off the shelf at Home Depot.  It's about $12/quart.  I actually had this paint left over from another project, which is always nice!

I sprayed several thin layers of this paint onto the frame of the mirror.  This is what it looked like once I was done the first "coat".

Silly me...I forgot to take a pic of the mirror once I had painted several coats of white paint, so try to envision what it would look like!

With it painted all white, all the details in the flowers at the top of the frame, and even the interior scalloped edges that were routered, were no longer visible.  So, I turned to the internet and started researching how to add a faux finish to the frame to bring out those details!  I decided to apply a glaze to the frame, by using a glazing medium and some stain.  I mixed translucent mixing glaze with Miniwax Express Stain in walnut and Mahogany colors (you can use any color of stain, or even paint).

The Glazing Medium I actually purchased at A.C. Moore.  If you have a larger project and need a larger quantity, you can buy a quart/gallon of this at Home Depot.  I purchased the Minwax Express Stain at Home Depot.  The ratio I used when mixing was 3:1, three parts mixing medium, and one part stain.  I wanted the color to have some red accents as the mirror will hang above a cherry stained dresser, but I also wanted some warm dark brown accents too, that's why I mixed the two stain colors.  My hubby mixed it up for me, and decided to add more mahogany (red) than walnut.  Which, in hindsight I  probably would have used more walnut and a touch of mahogany, but it turned out fine.  I mixed these three items up in a small cup and this is what it looked like.

You can always add more of a certain color stain to achieve the color that you want.  Before I started to apply the stain/medium mixture to the mirror, I made sure to have a bucket of water and several dry, clean rags to wipe the stain mixture off when it was time.. 

I then began to apply the stain/glaze mixture onto the frame with a foam brush.  I worked in small sections.  This is what it looked like once the mixture was applied.

I left this on the frame for several minutes, then took a damp clean cloth to wipe off all the excess stain.  
Here's what it looked like once the excess was wiped off
Now, if you are a perfectionist like me, you will initially have a tough time with this whole glazing concept.  Nothing is uniform.  What I mean is, the stain will seep into some areas and not others.  It's not supposed to look perfect.  In fact, it's supposed to look antiqued!  I did find that some areas didn't take the stain as well, and in those areas, I just reapplied the stain, let it sit for awhile then wiped it off with a wet cloth. You essentially repeat this process over and over until you have covered the entire piece you are working on.  Check out how the floral detail at the top of the mirror came back to life after the stain/glaze was applied
Now, because my stain mixture contained a mahogany-colored stain, there were times that the frame looked like it had a pink hue.  I simply took a Mr. Clean Eraser, dampened it, and wiped off any pink hues I saw.  It worked wonderfully!!  Make sure to wipe off all excess stain/glazing mixture, and allow the piece to dry completely.  Here's the finished product hanging above my dresser!  I just love it, and I love the stark contrast between the dark cherry stained dresser and the bright, white mirror.  The glazing really brings out the details in the mirror and also adds a little bit of that cherry stain into the mirror!  The best part, the project was not at all time consuming!

Here's what it looked like before I switched out the tri-fold mirror

And after

Little changes can make a big difference!

Monday, October 7, 2013

Fall Nesting

Boy, it's been awhile!  With summer winding down, trying to squeeze in every last bit of summer fun, gearing up for the start of school for my two oldest, beginning nursery school for my youngest, and having had surgery, the past couple of months have been rather busy.  I feel like everyone seems to have acclimated to their new routines.  I'm feeling much better post-surgery, and am overly excited to start blogging....AGAIN!

Happy Fall!  It is just gorgeous here in New England.  The leaves on the trees are bright and vibrant in color. The days are warm still, yet the nights are brisk.  It has been hard to let go of summer, but the beauty that encompasses fall makes the transition a bit easier.  It's ironic really because I've actually been spending a lot of time lately, indoors!  YEP, indoors!  The reason being.....I have had this intense, unexplainable desire to clean and re-organize, or in some instances, just plain organize my home!  I started in my bedroom.  I have been in the process of making this room over for a little over a year now.  Yes, I know a year, right, but it really does take me a while to find exactly what I'm envisioning for a space that I'm recreating.  Well, I have had a two-drawer file cabinet in my bedroom for many years.  Despite the fact that the file cabinet looks like wood, it really has always looked like it didn't belong, especially in my bedroom.

 So, I decided I would get rid of the file cabinet and replace it with a portable file box that I could place in my closet, as I have some great shelving in there, and it wouldn't be SEEN!  So I began my search for the perfect file box on-line.  I wanted a file box that was truly a file box.  You can buy a lot of great fabric boxes, but I really wanted a file box that had hanging hardware for hanging file folders.  I also didn't want to spend an arm and a leg for a file box!!

I found some really attractive ones at

See Jane Work Basic File Box-ALL NEW
See Jane Work

However, this file box is actually on the smaller side. I would need three of them to accommodate all the files I have, and they are $22/a piece.  I really didn't want to spend that much, so I ended up finding these at Target for a whopping $13/each.
They measured 12.2' H x 9.06" W x 13.58" D, and I only needed two of them.

They are actually bigger than the ones at See Jane Work, as their file box only measured 7.25" W x 10.5" H x 13.5" L.  Unfortunately, Target only offered their file box in one color, black, but I decided nonetheless to go with it. 

The next step was to go through all the files in my current 2-drawer file cabinet, and throw what we no longer needed.  Oh my goodness, my hubby and I save way too much stuff!  He and I both weeded out
all the papers we no longer needed.  I was able to fit all of our files from our 2-drawer unit into two storage boxes.  Here's an inside view of one of the file boxes 

I loved the file boxes so much, I actually went back to Target to pick up a storage box for my printer paper.  It was $5.99 and matched the Room Essentials File Boxes!  

I then bought four photo/shoe boxes in the color white, from A.C. Moore.  They had them for 1.50/each this past weekend.  I placed my wedding shoes in one box, cards that I've saved from my hubby and others in another box, and the other two or empty, but I'm sure it won't take me long to find some little treasures to store in them.  Here's what they all looked like in my closet  

I'm pretty happy with the end result.  Everything is organized and in it's rightful place, not to mention it just looks neat and clean, and I did it all for around $40!  If you are wondering why I did the shoe boxes in white, well that's because they didn't have black!