Friday, July 18, 2014

Getting Crafty with Tiny Planters

I recently jazzed up a couple cheap planters that I thought I'd share.  Mostly because they were so easy, that anyone can do it.  And, I want to publicly declare the presence of live plants in the house.  Maybe if I say it here, I'll be more likely to feel the pressure of keeping them alive?  This black thumb sure hopes so!


I found a mini orchid plant from Home Depot that was marked down to $4.99.  I figured if I killed it I would only be out 5 bucks and, who doesn't love normal things in miniature sizes? 

I was on a mission to find a cute pot, but couldn't find anything I liked.  As I was purusing Ikea my last trip, I came across their selection of mini orchids.

via
The little pots were the perfect canvas for something more interesting, but I already had the plant so I didn't want to spend the $8 for these.  I lucked out when I found a couple dead ones in the as-is section they were selling for something like $2.  It probably looked weird buying a dead plant, but I didn't care!  I also picked up some more succulents, because our Home Depot and Lowes both had pretty sad looking selections.

We had a party at our house recently and I needed something to mask the little orange plastic containers, so I found these nondescript black plastic planters at Target also marked down to $0.72 a piece.

So, to start this thing I had a plain white ceramic cup, and an equally plain black plastic cup.  I knew I wanted to gold leaf the white planter so I used a foam brush to paint on the adhesive in a diagonal shape.  I wanted the edge to be rough, so I didn't worry too much about being perfect.  I followed the directions and let it sit, then gold leafed it until it looked good and then sprayed it with some gold leaf sealer.  I can't wait for it to flower again, it looks a little sad until then.


For the black planter, I had found this pot on Etsy and thought it would be an easy pattern to replicate. 

via

I used a white paint pen and free handed until I liked the way it looked.  It took maybe 20 minutes.


I'm not sure that they'll always live together, because I don't really think a (flowering orchid) really goes with a spiky succulent, but while I wait for the flowers to come back they're together.


 Right now they live on the window sill in the kitchen, and I have two more black planters that I may doodle on with different designs.


And, I know it's hard to get a size orientation with close cropped photos, so here's a little wider shot for comparison.


It was such a quick and simple upgrade that I'm excited to do more, but I may have to cool it on the plants right now, I've only kept them alive for a couple months so far.  I don't want to get cocky and have a bunch of planters but dead plants!

Any tips on keeping succulents alive?  Mine always seem to grow up, which makes them look weird.  I also may have a slight tendency to over water them.  I kill them with kindness, literally!

Monday, July 14, 2014

The Kitchen Hold Up

We've had one lingering item that prevented the kitchen from being "complete", at least in our minds.


I mentioned a couple years ago that our bathroom window had spots on the inside of the panes.  We naively thought the seal had been broken and that it was moisture.  We were surprised when we contacted the company that installed the windows, (before we bought the house), to find out that it was a malfunction of the window itself, specifically "a failure of the low-e coating on the inside of the window when it's exposed to oxygen".  They were holding an internal investigation and a third-party tester contacted us to replace the window and it was done with little headache.

We noticed about a year ago that it happened to one of the living room windows as well.  This time is was the top sash, which on our windows, is sealed in place.  Mike's been around the block a couple times, so he felt comfortable switching it out.

Big mistake.  First, it's on the ground level, but it's still over 6 feet up from the ground so he needed a ladder.  Second, it's a much larger window and when we tried to break the seal, the window broke.  He was able to manhandle it out, but it was scary to watch, and I hate cleaning up broken glass.

I was running around like a crazy person so I didn't get a shot of the broken glass, but it's the washed out window behind the gold lamp.
 
When we noticed this little kitchen window top sash had started to fail as well, (that's 3 windows so far if you're keeping track), we contacted the window company right away.  It actually was at the same time we we're dealing with the living room window so we were already on a first name basis with these guys.  They said they would order one right away.

I was notified to come pick it up, which of course can only be done during their work hours, which means I had to leave my work early to make it there, because they kept worse hours than bankers.  I picked it up, only to find out when I got home that it was for the bottom sash.  Womp, womp.

I realize you don't really care about these small details but Mike and I like having a sort of diary to remember these little nuances by, so skip ahead if you want.  I returned it, on another day that I had to leave work early.  So, we waited until they contacted us again when the new window came in.  And, like 2  months went by before they confirmed it was in.  I said I wanted it delivered at this point since they already messed it up and made me leave work early, and a week later a guy stopped by the house.  He came carrying a giant window, much too big to be that little window in the kitchen, so I made him wait while I opened it to check.  Sure enough it was the same one we had replaced in the living room.

We waited another 6 weeks for them to get us a new one out, and another 2 or 3 weeks for an installer to come out and replace it.  He replaced it in less than 20 minutes.  Mike totally could have done it, but he's not just any homeowner also, but we figured that the way the larger one went, it would be better to have a certified installer do it in case we have to use the warranty again.

The window wasn't as bad as the bathroom, but it was enough that it bothered me when ever it caught my eye.

    
What really bothered me was it looked worse from outside.  Also known as the door we use to get in our house, everyday!


It just gets worse the closer you are.


Agh!


So, it only took almost 6 months to get this little window fixed, but it's over with.  And, the sad thing is no one will even notice!



Now, I finally feel like I can clean up the kitchen and do a final reveal!

Friday, July 11, 2014

Living Room Revamp

I've been slowly changing/adding to the living room and it's finally close to being something that I really love.  I've shared the bigger changes, like the new "old" TV stand, the fauzdenza, and of course the purchase of a new rug.  And, I've been changing out things like the pillows, lighting, accessories over the six months or so.

I haven't shared anything in a while so here's how she looks now.



For comparison lets look at what we'll call Phase 1:




Phase 2 was when I changed the pillows out for some bright patterns.


It's kind of ironic, but I ended up bringing back three of the pillows from Phase 1 for this latest update.  I added the super popular Ikea LAPPLJUNG RUTA pillow and a kilim pillow that I found on eBay.  Truth Time: the Ikea pillow is really comfortable and soft, the kilim pillow is really rough and we turn it over or place another pillow on top of it to use.

The linen pillows came from Pier 1 and have a soft velvet on the other side and are really comfortable.  They came with a down insert but I really hate down and the little feathers kept poking through so, I replaced with 2 cheap Ikea inserts each.  They're super stuffed, but we use pillows a lot and they are comfortable to sit/lay on.


I also added a sheep skin rug to the ottoman.  Love them or hate them, I grew up with them in my grandparent's house, my parents house, and now I have them all over.  I used to have the faux ones, but they're just not as soft and seem to get dirty easily.  This is one of Benelli's favorite spots, so they are worth it for us.


I donated the old end tables to my sister and used a store credit to Levin to purchase the round table on the left side of the couch.  I found the gold lamp at Home Goods for $80 and can't believe that I actually left it the first time around because it was a little more than I usually spend on lamps.  It's one of my favorite things in the room now.


The floor basket is from Target and is great for holding blankets.  The box on the table is from Target also, and is from Nate Berkus' line, but only available online, it's really nice construction with a seed bead inlay detail and brass handle.


We use it to hold our TV and Roku remotes, as well as a coaster.  We're still in the habit of eating out here sometimes, so the one coaster works for whoever sits on this side of the couch.


On the other side of the couch is a new set-up as well.


The table was just added last week and is this one from World Market.  The lamp is from Target, which was a really good price and the fiddle leaf fig is from a local nursery.  The basket is from Ikea.

I've wanted a fiddle leaf fig for some time, and over the winter they had one at Home Depot on sale for $10, so I grabbed it.  But, the moment it got home it started to turn brown and lose some of it's leaves.  I think it was the shock of moving it during the super cold temperatures we had.  I had dreams of reviving it, but one day Benelli and Mike killed those dreams as well as the plant when Benelli jumped off of Mike while he was sitting on the couch and landed right on the poor plant.  He took off like 5 leaves, (when there was only about 7 still there), on his way down.  I finally called the time of death then and sat fiddle-less for a couple months until I found this beauty at the nursery for $29.

I water it only when the soil's dry, which is every 1-2 weeks and I open the blinds everyday when I wake up and we close them at night for privacy.  Fingers crossed this one will survive!

Moving further around the room, I updated the chair area, as well as the picture ledges.


I bought a pillow case from Etsy and brought back the white furry one from Pier 1.  I also grabbed the hexagon table, black lamp shade and hexagon lamp from Target.  They weren't exactly bought to be used all together, (even for me that's a lot of gold and hexagons), but two were on sale, and we love a good bee reference.  I had plans to paint the lamp base because I thought the gold from that as well as the inside of the shade might be too much, but I placed them all together and I like it the way it is.

The table worked perfectly in this little nook and the lamp was a good size, so they all went together.  I added a little green and white box from Home Goods which stores more coasters. 


I also bought a pouf!   I didn't tell Mike when I bought it because he's not a fan of the global influenced items that I've been adding, but we've had it for over 8 months now and he actually said he likes it.  He may have said something like, "it's not bad", but in Mike talk that's high praise!  The chair was not a preferred seating choice because it didn't have something to put your feet up on, so I wanted something small that could be set off to the side, or used for extra seating in a pinch.

It also was awesome during the kitchen renovation because it was so small and the living room/dining room/temp kitchen space we had going on was definitely short on space.


I bought it from Amazon and it came pre-stuffed, which I didn't know they sold them any other way.  My only complaint, although it's not really a complaint, is that it looks too "new".  Like, I wish the stuffing was worn down a little.  I guess I could take some out, but I'm too lazy!  I figure it'll just get better the more we use it.

The ledges also got some updating.


I grew tired of the all black and white and began collecting different frames, mostly Target Threshold frames, since they are awesome and such great prices, especially on sale!

I would buy a frame, then replace it on the ledge, and donate/store the old one.  It kind of looks like a hodge podge, but I prefer this look, the "collected over time" look, than what was there previsously.


As always, filling the frames took much longer and I can just now officially call them all complete.  I used a lot of wedding photos, a pic or two taken from magazines or calendars, as well as some wedding presents, including a painting I had commissioned of Mike.

I also added one of my favorite wedding photo booth photos to the TV stand in one of the Target frames I bought almost a year ago.

 
I could say I'm trying to keep continuity and adding little bits of gold all around the room, but the truth is just I like gold!  I haven't really used it in my decorating in the last several years because Mike doesn't like it, but with our relationship growing, and his interest in all the decorating details decreasing, it's safe to bring the gold back!  It also helps that it's trending right now, so there are so many cute gold things out there!

The last part of the room, (yes, we're almost done, thanks for sticking in there!), that got some updates was the fauxdenza.


I replaced the old paint swatch art with this more sophisticated art print, titled 'All The Cool Kids' by the Etsy shop GirlandParrot.


I bought it back in November, but had to wait until the kitchen was done and I found a frame.  The kitchen got done, but I didn't want to wait any longer so I stole a frame from upstairs, (an Ikea one), and used that.  I had originally thought I wanted Mike to make a wooden frame, but I realized that the wood on the fauxdenza might compete.  I'm thinking I might try spray painting the frame gold.  See, it's a sickness!


I also haven't really styled this yet, I just put some things up there for the photos, but I definitely have to add something behind that black and white box, (also from Target), for height. It'd be nice if my orchid would bloom again for some height on the other side, but I'll wait.  The rest will move around until I like it.

Finally, the big item I haven't talked about is the rug.


We've lived with it for a year now and I have to say I still love it!  When we first laid it down, it was really knobby and I thought I made a terrible choice.  It took about a week to get used to.  It's great at hiding dirt, I don't freak out when unannounced guests come over and I haven't vacuumed the rug, (come on, we've all been there).  To be honest, you can't tell the difference whether you just vacuum or not.

The only complaint is the rug does shed a lot, but only underneath.  When I do vacuum, I try to lift up as much as I can to fold over and get underneath.  It would probably be a good idea to move everything off of it and clean underneath a couple times a year, in my opinion.


It's crazy that I was so set on repainting this room because I thought that was the only way I could get it to a point that I liked.  Although, looking back it would have been the cheaper route to go, it still would have been a temporary fix, since a lot of the bigger items just weren't working.

With the kitchen complete, and the dining room coming around, our main floor is somewhere that I really enjoy entertaining, working, relaxing, and generally being in!

And, since this post doesn't have enough photos, (ha!), I'll leave you with some more of our living room!




Wednesday, July 9, 2014

The Guest Room Headboard Lives

Three and a half years ago I mentioned I wanted to make a headboard for the guest room.  I even did a survey about the shape.  Then about six months ago I finally did.  Then I forgot to take pictures or mention it.

If a blogger builds something, but doesn't take pictures or blogs about it, did it really happen?

So, here I am way late sharing the final product.


Also, I didn't move the cat for any of these pictures, because one, he looks so darn cute sleeping, and two I didn't want to have to sweep his favorite nap spot, since gray fur + white blanket equals a perfect fur print.

There are tutorials all over showing how to make a headboard, so I won't reinvent the wheel here.  Basically, Mike cut me a giant curved shape out of plywood.  I used spray adhesive to adhere foam, then wrapped it with batting, then stapled my fabric on.

Before we did any of that though, I bought the Ikea FJELLSE frame and set that up.  We first thought of attaching the headboard directly to the wall since we only had the metal box frame rails.  But we have plaster walls in this room and we were concerned about the weight/wear on the walls that the headboard may cause.  We decided that we would be better to attach to a frame and the FJELLSE was cheap and easy to modify.  I painted the frame the same color of the walls because I already had it in the basement.  I also stapled some fabric on the box frame to create a clean look.  Not going to lie, this was super difficult since no one tells you that a box frame doesn't really have anything to staple into, it's basically fabric.  A was very liberal with the staples and enough of them stuck, so it's fine, but it's not something I would do again.


The headboard actually runs the entire height and sits on the bed frame base.


It's more material, but it was easier construction that way.  Mike created a "lip" on the other side to sit over the headboard of the bed frame.  He used more plywood to create 3 points total that fit over the frame. 


Not sure why the little spot didn't get painted, oh well!


The bed frame sits right against the baseboard, and the plywood support stops right above so that if the head board does get pushed back, it sits against the wall and nothing dents anything.

It took forever to get the motivation to do this, but it's down and it definitely makes the room look more finished.


It also adds the needed height to that wall.

And, finally a little before/after action:



Crazy how such a small build can take so long to get motivated to do!