Monday, September 10, 2012

Fallin' in Love with Wreaths

So I've never been much for door wreaths.  Seemed "old-fashion" to me and I'm just not into big, gawdy fowers, lace, and bows. But lately, I've taken interest in the creative and more up-to-date wreaths I've seen on Pinterest and girlfriends' photos on Facebook.  So the crafty side of me had developed an urge to create a wreath, but with an outdoor flare. 

I went to Michael's craft store and found one of those vine wreaths on sale, along with a few silk flowers for Fall, a letter "V" for our last name, and some ribbon.  I had a couple of items at home already: pheasant feathers and shotgun shells.  I used my hot glue gun and glued everything in place and it came out perfect (in my eyes)! 

That's something to remember when you decorate:  if its perfect to you, then its perfect. Period.  Don't worry about what others think.  They're not the ones looking at it everyday.

For the ribbon, I saw online where you can use a staple gun and just staple the ribbon on the very top of the door.  And that's exactly what i did.  It worked!

And as far as my door goes, it will be getting painted this fall.  Its a terrible faded shade of red.  Its streaky too.  It was never painted properly and defintiely needs to be a darker color. 

I didn't limit myself on keeping things from sticking out too much.  Just let the flowers do their thing.  And I didn't paint the wood letter "V" because I felt the white was pretty enough.   What do you think? Paint the "V" letter? If so, what color?

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Curtains with a....branch?

It's been exactly one year since we've moved into our home and I've been trying to work on one room at a time.  But there's still always something to be done to a room after I think I'm done with it.  But since I've completed the bathroom and painted our kitchen, then next room I've been wanting to focus on is our living room.  It's very bland with lots of browns and neutrals.  I love brown, but I also love color.  I've been brainstorming on what colors to throw in there and how, but you know, sometimes we just need to look at the creatures that God created for color inspiration.  For example, look at the Wood duck.  The male Wood duck has the most distinctive array of iridescent colors from head to tail.  It's covered in purples, blues, greens, white, brown, and black and the eye is surrounded in the most stunning color of red! It truly is amazing how God made such a beautiful creature.

I know I need to add some color in the room as well as decor on the walls, especially the fireplace. But I wanted to start with the curtains.  My mom is a fantastic seamstress. She has sewn since she was at least in her twenties....maybe teen years.  She used to have to make all my clothes because I grew so fast and so tall that everything in the department stores were all too short on me. So it was time for her to come visit me and I knew what I wanted for the curtains.   I design them, she sews them.  BUT! She did allow me to sew some of it just for the experience. It wasn't too bad. Lets just say she has straighter lines than I. 

Let's get down to it!  I found a big branch (or small tree?) at the hunting club and brought it home to use as the "curtain rod."  Can we say FREE? It was as straight as I could find and I didn't want anything small for the big window.  I found another branch that was smaller for the third, single window I have on the other side of the living room.  I had to cut the bigger branch down to my desired width.  I was going to use curtain tie-backs to hold the branch in place, but they weren't big enough.  So I found plant brackets for $2 each and used those, and that price was WAY better than fancy hold backs.

I found a teal colored panel at Walmart.  It's faux silk. I only needed one panel since I was cutting it into 3 different sections to use as the top piece.  So the teal part of the entire panel measures at 18". 

The feather trim I ordered online at Ebay. (The seller is all the way in Hong Kong, but had the best prices on feather trim). 

Then the bottom piece was originally going to be plain o' burlap.  We couldn't find enough burlap in the fabric stores nearby, so mom and I went to Target and bough 3 panels of a tan colored loose woven material panel. It smelled like burlap and mom says she thinks it is some sort of burlap material.  But It wasn't stiff like regular burlap and I definitely wanted something to flow with ease.  And this was perfect!

I bought those snap-on grommets (1" size) and those were so easy to do!  My space at the top of the curtain was small since we had already sewn it about 2 inches in.   But the grommets come with a plastic measuring tool thing.  Its easy to do! And you can buy these at Hobby Lobby (where I got mine) or Hancock Fabric or maybe even Walmart. 

Then I hung them up by some rope. I found the rope in a package at Lowe's in the rope section.  Its called "Blue Hawk 3/8in by 50ft Twisted Manilla Rope." It cost $8.98 for the package and it was enough for my 3 panels.

They turned out great, but my pictures were taken with my cell phone, so the quality isn't that great. They look better in person.  As always, pictures doesn't do it justice.

This is the large double size window.

I adjusted the rope as I hung it so that my panel is even across the top, not the rope.  



And this is the third window that's in the corner on the opposite side of the living room.  And it's next to a door that leads out to the screened in porch.  So I just decided to swoop it to the side and used a deer shed to hold it back. 

Monday, July 2, 2012

Reelin' In a Bathroom Makeover the first major house project was the kitchen....the second one I had to attack was the front/guest bathroom in the hallway. Everytime I walked in it, I felt like I was drowning in pistachio pudding, which tastes good, but doesn't look good on least not in this bathroom.  You will know what I mean when you see the BEFORE pics.

I have to say that I have gotten so much help from Pinterest and other search engines on the Internet.  Google is your best friend so I highly suggest using it when you need to know how to do something. I didn't know anything about tub and shower faucets until I watched a couple of videos! I never have tiled before either, so I used the internet to find what tools I needed. I also asked a coworker who has experience.  He let me borrow his wet saw so I wouldn't have to buy one. And one of my girlfriends came over and showed me what to do with the tile. It was way easier than I thought.  So my word of advice is to use the internet, you tube videos, Pinterest, AND your friends!!

 So let's wet a hook and dive on in!

This photo was taken when the sellers posted their pictures online. So this is one of the BEFORE pics.  So it's not that bad with the original home owner's decorations...but not only is it a little outdated for me, it's also NOT my style whatsoever!  So after we moved in, I had nothing to put in this bathroom and I couldn't decorate with that color. 

So here are several BEFORE pics I took of the walls and silver hardware and fixtures.

First I took down the towel racks and any nails in the wall.  I filled in all the holes I could find, sanded the walls, then wiped down the walls with a damp rag.  Then I cleaned all the dust out, including wiping down the baseboards. Oh yea, and sweeping the floors! I'm so finicky when it comes to prepping for a paint job! Which is why it takes me forever to finish a paint job.

I also removed the entry door and the closet door, as well as all the door and cabinet hardware.
The first thing I painted was all the white trim: the baseboards and the doors.  But I had to put down some tape on the floors first. I like to "cut" in the paint, but not so much on the quarter round. I'll cut it around countertops and the ceilings using an angled paintbrush.

Painting the trim makes a HUGE difference!! Fresh white paint just POPS! I used a bright white High Gloss. This is what I used in the kitchen too when I did that big project and what I'll continue to use throughout the house.

The color on the far right is the one I chose. It's called "Lyndhurst Timber" by Valspar. I bought 1 gallon of the Valspar Paint+Primer. It was plenty for two coats in the bathroom.

My trick to painting behind the toilet........get a paint stick, some serious glue, and one of those flat refills you use in a Shur-Line paint edger.  Glue the smooth side to the stick. I used some clamps to hold it down for at least 15-30 minutes while I did something else.  Once its good and dry, I slapped some paint on the fuzzy bristle side using a paint brush or very carefully running it in the paint tray. I prefer coating a paint brush in the paint and then transfer the paint to the flat edger.  Ok - once your paint is on there, start painting!! Sometimes you have to get a bigger paint stick or something very flat and long so you can work the paint all behind the toilet.  Its easy and doesn't take long.

The idea I found on Pinterest to put a rubberband around the paint can did not work so well for me.  The objective is to be able to rub off access paint from the paint brush and have that excess paint drip back into the can.  I didn't like it.  My paint would sling as the end of the brustles rubbed across the rubberband. I didn't find it useful. It made a mess and I couldn't control how much paint was on the brush. Maybe you will have better luck.

Here is another Pinterest trick that I DID put to use when I painted. I have had the same plastic paint tray for several years and I usually just buy one of those .79 cent plastic tray liners. But Pinterest gave me a cost-cutter and easy cleanup tip: Line the tray with aluminum foil!!! I placed a piece horizontally and vertically just so I had the edges of the tray covered.  It worked out perfect.  And it was one less thing I had to write on my "To Buy" list.

I painted the walls with two good coats and let it dry. But there was something missing.....
I had done my research for what tools I would need to put tile up around the shower. I had never done ANY tile work, but I have been ready to learn.  I was in Home Depot one day and saw a tiling project checklist in the tile section! So I grabbed one and talked it over with a friend of mine.  I went to Lowe's to get all the supplies I needed. The associate was very helpful and I felt confident about the project!
My friend came over one weekend and we didn't waste any time. I borrowed a wet saw from a co-worker which helped cut cost. 
I chose a 4" tile and did 3 rows up above the shower. Putting the tile up and cutting the tile was easier than baking a pie.  The grout part was a little more challenging for I will be practicing my grouting skills.  I did seal it the next week after I cleaned all the excess grout off the tiles.  But I'm very pleased with how everything turned out.

Next, I spray painted all the hardware....couple of notes to this:
The items I painted were the shower curtain rod, light fixture, toilet paper holder, cabinet hardware, door knobs and hinges. First I sanded every piece, washed it, and let it dry over night.   It's important that you label every hinge and to which door it went to.  When I took them down, I kept each door's hardware in separate bags. Each one was labeled, and when i took it all outside to paint, I labeled the box. 

See here I labeled the hinges and the box.  1 is always the top one, 2 is the middle hinge, and 3 is the bottom.  But I also knew this set was for the closet/linen door, not the entry way door for the bathroom.

Then I used Rustoleum's Paint+Primer Oil Rubbed Bronze (found at Lowe's and HD). Gave it a couple of coats. About 4 coats is good. A few things got more than that. I let everything dry over night. Then clear coated it with a Rustoleum Gloss Protective Enamel. It came in a spray can from Lowe's.  I set everything outside on a box or foam leftovers I picked up at work.



Another Pinterest tip I learned was to get some push-pins and push it in the cardboard or foam and place the object on top of the push-pins so that you can spray paint the object and it leaves a nice finished edge.....AND without the object sticking to the cardboard! THANK YOU Pinterest! This is one of the hinges off the door....

And yet another Pinterest idea I put to use was to wrap the part that the bulb screws into (on the light fixture) with aluminum foil to keep paint from touching that area.  The foil was easy to put on and take off....and just THROW away when done. Love it!!

Moving along...I got all the hardware painted, clear coated, and dried. Next thing I worked on was the countertop.  I have REALLY admired all the "granite-look-alike" transformations I have seen on several DIY blogs.  And like those ladies, I did not want to pay an arm and a leg for the kits you can buy online or in the hardware store.  So I used what seemed to be the most popular products and techniques.
Sand it, clean it, and let it dry. Then start with your PRIMER. Paint what you can with a smooth foam roller.  The next evening I painted the acrylic paints on.  Once I got it how I liked it, I added the Polycrylic the next evening. But it took me 2 evenings to apply SEVERAL coats. I used up this WHOLE little can.  And I still might come back to add more clear coats. 

This is what I used for the countertop:
Primer = Bulls Eye 1 2 3
Color = several colors of craft Acrylic Paints (Michael's or Hobby Lobby). Two of the colors were metallic
Sealer/Finish = Polycrylic

I took a seasponge and dabbed it on...different colors and different variations. I was nervous. It actually came out quite different than I had envisioned; however, it has grown on me and with the decor, it has all come together and I really like it.

Before sanding

Base Primer has been applied. I should have gotten the paint people to tint the primer for me.  Next time I will tint the primer with a tan color.


One more thing..........
My husband changed out the sink fixture and I assisted him.  I know just a little but not enough to do it myself without any help. 

He also helped me make a frame out for my mirror (another Pinterest  idea) out of pallet wood! Yes it's cheap and thin, but we made it work.  ALSO -- I did NOT glue it on the mirror. I saw one Pinterest  idea where you can put up a frame but in a way that you can take it down in case anything happens! Soooooo....I put two hooks on the top piece and it lips right over the top of the mirror (sorry I didn't take pictures, but I'll try to get some posted). Then after we cut the other boards, we used "L" shaped brackets to hold them together (not glue). But we used short wood screws.  Then, I placed velcro on the left and right corner of the bottom piece (the peel and stick kind) and so now it holds itself flat against the mirror.  I did everything so that you couldn't see anything in the reflection. It's not perfect, but that's what I love!! Something ROUGH and imperfect with a touch of class!!

Lovely painted "oil rubbed bronze" hardware!

Had this old oar in the shed and I finally found a new home for it!

Snatched this at Kirklands just before Father's Day!!

I wanted a towel rack, but not your ordinary rod. So I took a piece of pallet wood and found this hooks at Walmart.  This is one of my FAV pieces of the whole project!

 I already had this shower curtain and the curtain rings! So I saved $$$ there! I just spray painted the rod! We'll see how well it holds up.  It's always worth trying to paint something first before buying another one new.

Pictures add a nice touch to ANY room!! Especially your experiences.  The yellow "Fisherman's Ruler" is also from Kirklands. Father's Day is usually a good time of year to find "outdoorsy" type stuff. 

The pallet mirror frame!
Love how I transformed the countertop and hardware!

New sink fixture!

From silver to bronze! I'm LOVIN' it!!

Found this rug at Kohl's
Looking back at the entry door
 The last thing I have to do is change out the silver shower head/arm and tub faucet to an oil rubbed bronze set that I bought at Lowe's.   Oh! And set out a hand towel and soap dispenser! :)