Friday, April 29, 2011

Thrift store finds!

I'm so glad it's Friday, it's been a long week!  On my way home from work today I decided to treat myself to some thrift store shopping :o)  I found a couple of bud vases and a candle holder.  Everything was 50% off so my grand total was around $3.50!

As soon as I got home I set to work trying to find a place for everything.  I put the cute white ceramic bud vase on my blue dresser with a geranium stem from the yard.

Here it is a bit closer up, I really like the textured stripes:

 You may have also noticed my cute little piggy bank on the dresser too.  It was a find of mine at a Marshall's or Ross a while back.  I love his coloring and the wings!  He makes me happy :o)

As for the candle holder, I'm not really sure where to put it but for now it is on the bookcase next to our digital picture frame.  

My favorite find from today was the test tube-like bud vase.  Being a biologist I love anything that's a little science-y :o)  I put a couple of pincushion flower stems from the yard in the vase and set it on the windowsill in the bathroom.  I thought it would work with the garden theme I was going for.

Here it is a bit closer, isn't it cute!

I was hoping to find some furniture today but maybe it's better I didn't as I already have a few projects I still need to finish.  Once I get the other striped bookcase out of the way I can finally get started on my dining chairs!

I hope everyone had a nice week.  Now it's time for me to get to work on things around the house!

Friday, April 22, 2011

A ticking stripe bookcase

Having a small house you really have to think about storage solutions and your use of colors and furniture.  I know that light colors are supposed to make things look larger but I've also read that you shouldn't be afraid to use bold colors on your walls because in some cases that can make rooms appear larger.  It's all a bit confusing so I've just been trying different things and seeing what works.  If you've been following our blog you may have noticed that we are not afraid of bold colors on the walls!  I'm not sure if it's made the rooms look smaller but it has added some fun to our decor.  So I guess that's another consideration .............. if it makes you happy then that's what really matters :o)

Anyway back to the point of this post.  We were given a couple of oak bookcases when we first moved into our house.  I have had this dream of having a library full of books, bookshelves from the floor to the ceiling, so I have the beginnings of a book collection that needed a home.  So with Brian's help I decided to paint the bookcases a chocolate brown.  We thought the color would look nice and they would also contrast nicely with the light blue of the guest bedroom where we would put them.

We liked the color but the size and placement just wasn't working.  We had put them right next to one another on the wall by the door so it made things feel a bit cramped when entering the room.  I tried moving them to a wall across the room from the doorway on either side of a window but that still didn't work so well.  I next thought maybe if they were a lighter color that would help things out a bit so I got to painting and covered up the brown with white.

But I couldn't stop there so I decided to paint stripes on the back!  I talked with Brian about color options, I was debating a light cream, tan, light blue or yellow.  Brian thought the blue would be nice so I got to work measuring out 2 inch sections on the bookcase back and applying tape to mark-off the areas to be left unpainted.

I noticed when I was putting on the tape that there was a small stripe between the two pieces of tape.

I'm not sure if my measuring was a bit off or the tape is slightly narrow than 1 inch but the extra stripe worked for me ........ now my stripes would be ticking stripes!

Next I got to work applying two coats of blue paint I already had, Martha Stewart's "Enamelware" that I had already used for the magazine rack.  It is slightly lighter than the blue of the walls.

And when it finally dried I was able to peel-off the tape and see what I had done.  The "Frog Tape" I used worked wonders, there was no seep-through along the edges of the tape!  Don't you hate when you have finished painting and excitedly peel-off the tape only to reveal the paint had seeped under the tape, ugh!

Here's a closer view of the stripes:

And then I put the shelves back in, and I had a brand new bookcase.  Isn't it cute!

A little closer view:

And no bookcase is complete without books, so I got to work filling it up.

The stripes aren't as visible with all the books, but they are still there:

And here:

I had to include a picture with my favorite book, "To Kill a Mockingbird".  Bailey's middle name is Atticus after the father character in the book :o)

Now I have the other bookcase left to paint.  We hope to one day make our own taller bookcases to form a little cubby flanking the window and the bed in the guest room.  Another thing to put on our to-do list  :o)

Thursday, April 21, 2011

An Easter egg cup display

Since Easter is this Sunday I decided to bring out my egg cups and other egg-themed items and put them on display.

The cute ceramic bunny egg holder on the left was a gift from Brian's mom.  When she came to visit last year we went to the local farmer's market and bought a carton of eggs of assorted colors: traditional whites and browns, with a couple of blue ones thrown in.  We spent some time blowing the whites and eggs through small piercings in the shell and then put the emptied shells on display in the bunny holder.  I wish I had thought to do that this year.  Instead I found some egg-shaped candles in cream, blue, and green with tiny speckles.

And this year Brian's mom sent us the cute individual blue with polka-dots egg cups.  I think they will look perfect in our dish display cabinet after Easter, contrasting nicely with the blue and green stripes of the shelf paper :o)

I also brought out my light blue cake stand and found a glass dome I had around to cover a tiny wire nest holding an egg candle.  I would love to have a real nest on display ............ maybe I can make one out of moss and twigs for next year! 

So that's my Easter display for this year.  This weekend my family is coming to visit and we are planning on decorating eggs and having an Easter egg hunt.  Even though my brothers and I are all grown up my family still has an Easter egg hunt every year!  We try to be nonchalant about it, but we all want to be the one to find the most eggs!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

A garden update

Our bearded irises finally opened and looked so beautiful I had to take some pictures and share.

And another picture:

 Beautiful, huh?  I love the color and the delicateness of the petals.

And last but not least our first artichoke!

Ah, spring! :o)

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

A bit of paint distressing

So I haven't gotten around to working on the chairs just yet.  They do look really nice in the dining room, and I'm excited to get started on them, but there are other projects I need to finish first.

I've had this really cute magazine rack that my brothers gave me for a birthday gift a few years back that has been hiding on the far side of the sofa.  Not because it needed to be hidden but it just became a catchall for books and magazines and the mess of that needed to be hidden!  So I decided it would be hidden no more!  But I also decided that the blue that it was painted wouldn't quite go with the blue dresser already in the living room ......... and I wanted a chance to test out some paint I had bought for the dining chairs!

So I got to work ............ well, here's a before picture first:

It's a nice shade of blue but it doesn't really work with this blue from the dresser (in my opinion):

The color I chose, Martha Stewart's "Enamelware" is a lighter blue but I think it works better with the blue of the dresser.  Here you can see it on the magazine rack after I primed and painted it:

It's a different shade of blue, with a slight greenish tint but I think it works well with the other colors in the living room.  I also wanted to try to show-off the details of the magazine rack, especially those cute floral cutouts so I got out some sandpaper and sanded all the edges down to the wood surface to give a nice contrast.

Here you can see the finished product:

And a bit closer of the edges:

And the floral motif:

And here it is holding my home decorating/fix-it magazines and inspiration binder of ideas I've cut-out from past issues.

Hopefully now that I have the magazine rack visible my magazines will find their way there instead of scattered over the coffee table!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

The perfect dining chairs

Today Brian was going out to dinner with his friends after work so I thought I'd take a bit of a detour on my way home and stop by a consignment shop I hadn't been to in a while.

I found this really cute cake stand in a light-light blue:

Here's another angle of the base:

I thought it would go perfectly with the other dishes in our china cabinet.  Add a little blue to the white and yellow dishes we already have and play-off the blue stripes of the shelf paper.

But that wasn't the real find, the real find was these lattice back chairs!!!

Check out that back!

I'm really excited about them.  I've been wanting to get some new dining room chairs for a while, but chairs can be expensive! I found a set of four of these for $10 each and they seem pretty stable and the cushions are nice and soft. I can't wait to paint them and get new fabric for the cushions. I'm not sure exactly what colors to go with, I'll probably do some internet searching tonight. Since the dining room is a rich and bright green color I'll have to work with something that will fit in with the current color scheme. I was thinking maybe white with a patterned fabric something like this:

Or maybe a really light-light robin's egg blue with a simple off white canvas fabric.   Something sort of like this:

I'm not sure what to do?!  Any ideas??

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Painting a thrift store vase and pitcher

It was "50% of everything " at our local thrift store yesterday so I just had to stop by after work and take a look.  I ended up finding a metal pitcher and a metal vase for a grand total of $2.30!  They weren't perfect but I had a plan for them.  So here they are after bringing them home:

I decided to spray paint them both "Heirloom White".   Here is a picture after painting them as I was letting them dry:

Next I decided to lightly sand the pitcher around the embossed design and edges to reveal the metal underneath to help show-off the detailing: 

I decided to put them on my desk in the guest bedroom.  Here is an after of the vase, I just love the cutout design around the top!  It is now my knitting needle holder :o)

And here is the pitcher, all it needs now are some fresh flowers from the garden :o)

Overall, I really like how they turned out, especially the pitcher.  It's better than I I had expected! 

Monday, April 11, 2011

Getting our hands dirty

This past weekend we tackled the backyard.  Brian worked really hard to remove most of the weeds from the flower beds and I mowed down the weeds around the garden.  So things went from this:

To this:

We can actually see the bricks around the flower bed!  

Now we need to get busy planting flowers!

Our garden is starting to look exciting.  The strawberries are flowering and beginning to fruit:

While trimming the artichokes plants back I noticed we had actual artichokes!  (There's two in this picture, if you look close you can see one tucked away on the bottom right).

And the apricots are growing!

We do have some flowers growing around the yard.  There are a few late blooming daffodils:

The bearded iris are about ready to pop:

And I love the fan-shaped leaves of our ginkgo tree!

I even was able to pick flowers to fill some vases on our kitchen windowsill :o)

So that's the yard progress from the weekend.  Now we just have to start filling in the empty spaces and wait for things to grow!