Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Back Deck Progress

Summer is just around the corner and our deck was in need of a spruce up.  It's definitely not complete but I made some progress this past week.  Last time we chatted about the deck, the sitting area looked like this...

I freshened it up with new pillows and a hanging planter filled with pink flowers.

I love that the flowers are out of Charley's and Libby's reach, which means they might actually survive the summer.  The planter was only $11 at Lowes and it was super easy to attach, which makes it that much better.  In the short time since I snapped these pics, we've actually hung three more planters around the deck.  Such an easy way to add life and color.

I also added some flowers and a lantern to the table and new seat cushions for some of the chairs.  Four of the six chairs haven't had appropriate cushions for the last two years, so they were due for something comfy.

I bought a hanging fern that has yet to be hung, so that's on the to do list.  I need to get my hands on a drill with a concrete drill bit before I can mark that off.  I'd also love to hang some small planters on the wall for herbs, but that may or may not happen. 

And just for fun, let's take a vote.  I was thinking about painting the door frame.  A fresh coat of paint would probably do wonders for it, but I'm just not sure.  That's where you come in.  What do you think?  Yes or no? Pin It

Monday, May 27, 2013

The Official Unofficial Start of Summer

Happy Memorial Day! 

Let me tell you why I love this happy day.  Did you read the title?  That's the main reason.  Another, I love cookouts and everything that comes with them.  As in hamburgers and potato salad.  It also means I'm days away from summer break from kindergarten-ville.  Don't get me wrong, I love my job and my students, but I also love days home with Charley and watching the Today show for four straight hours.  But man does summer fly by.  So I'm here today to share a list of 10 things I want to accomplish this summer, before it's time to plan our Labor Day cookout menu. 
1.  Discover new thrift shops

2.  Finish painting the wood trim and doors in our house

3.  Paint the dining room a moody gray/green/navy color

4.  Take weekly family trips to the farmer's market

5.  Go on a picnic with B.J., like the one he planned for (what he calls) our official first date

6.  Go to the City Flea in Cincy

7.  Build a headboard for our bed that mimics this one from West Elm

8.  Go on a  Pedal Wagon bike tour in downtown Cincy like the one we did for my 30th birthday

9.  Take time to read a good book-it's been too long

10.  Of course, soak up every.single.second with Charley

Hopefully broadcasting this list (that includes some lofty plans, I might add) to the blog world, will hold me accountable.  How about you?  Any big plans for sum sum summa time? Pin It

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Goodwill Hunting: Floor Lamp

Last week I started a new series of posts called Goodwill Hunting, all devoted to sharing thrift shop finds, and today I'm back with round number two.  I recently went thrifting with my friend Asha and neither one of us left empty handed.  (For the local peeps, we were at a place called The Treasure Barn in Monroe). 

Asha scored a really small chest of drawers that she plans to use for her daughter's doll clothes or possibly art and writing materials.  It was a seriously good find.  It could totally work in a small bathroom to hold soaps and towels, as well.

I walked away with a set of three small, metal trays ($2), a wooden bowl thing ($1), and a brass floor lamp ($20).

The wooden bowl will most likely be used for jewelry and I'm not really sure what I'll do with the trays yet. Whatever I do will probably involve spray paint or fabric and mod podge.  Although, I think one would look right at home as-is on a vintage inspired gallery wall, similar to the one below from Blushing Apples.  B.J. is probably cringing at the thought of that. 

A charmingly vintage gallery wall.

As for the floor lamp, it didn't stay in it's original state for very long.  My first thought was to paint it bronze, or something similar, but then I thought it wouldn't pop enough.  I opted to give black a try because I had leftover spray paint from Charley's picnic table.  I wiped it down and primed it first. 

When the lamp was still outside I loved the look of it all sleek and black.  But when I put it next to the chair inside, it looked too college-y to me.

I wanted the lamp to stand out, but something wasn't working for me.  I left it black for a couple days and still didn't love it.  I ended up repainting it using Rustoleum's Aged Copper.  I didn't prime it again, so it was a super quick process.

I have a much better feeling when I look at my new thrifted lamp now.  I think it fits perfectly next to that small chair, like it was meant to be there all along.

Let me refresh your memory on what it looked like before, just for fun.

Oh, spray paint, you do wonders.  So, have you scored any sweet thrift shop finds lately?  Do tell! 
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Saturday, May 18, 2013

Dining Room Mood Board

Christie's Colorful Dining Room

I recently put together a mood board for a friend of our's who wanted to bring more color and life into her dining room.  She loves gray, yellow and turquoise, so that's the color scheme I was working with.  I scoured her pinterest boards to get an idea of the overall look and feel she was drawn to, and this is what I came up with.

The table is similar to the one Christie already has, but I added some white chairs and colorful pillows to brighten it up.  Using mismatched chairs, rather than everything matching perfectly, adds some interest.  The buffet is similar to one she already has as well, only it was black.  Painting a big piece of furniture a bright color and adding a bold, striped rug is sure to bring life into a space.  I also noticed Christie had pinned various images of white floating shelves, so I add three of those to the board.  I just filled them up with random, colorful items.

Here are a couple pictures of the space before.  (You'll have to excuse the quality of the photos, as these were pics she texted to me.)

And here are a few more pictures Christie sent me that show off the progress she is making on her space.  It's definitely fun seeing a mood board come to life!

How about you?  Are you trying to bring life to a space just in time for summer?  That's exactly what I'm trying to do on our deck and our front porch.  Hopefully I'll have some progress to share with you soon.
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Friday, May 17, 2013


I've been busy framin' and hangin' photos in our entryway hall.  The family photo gallery wall has turned into gallery walls.  I recently got some prints made from our documentary photography session with Ben Elsass Photography.  I got the prints and one day later they were on the wall.  I just couldn't wait.

Originally, I was going to add them to the existing gallery but realized it would make more sense to start on the blank walls.  There were enough photos to frame and group together so they didn't seem out of place on the wall.  There's definitely more room to grow, which is a good thing because we're obsessed with pictures of Charley.  and Libby.  and Charley and Libby together.

Are you ready for lots of pictures of pictures?  Brace yourself.

How could I not zoom in on this cuteness?  Yep, I'm pulling icing out of Charley's hair after she destroyed her 1st birthday cake.

And Charley hugging Libby?  The sweetness is too much to handle.

My hope is that all the adorable pics of Charley will distract people from the banister that is STILL brown and the light fixture that sticks out like a sore thumb.  Here's to hoping.

How about you?  Any unfinished projects staring you in the face?  Summer break is just around the bend so hopefully I can tackle some larger projects soon.  Happy Friday!
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Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Goodwill Hunting: A New Series

A couple weeks ago I asked readers to share what they'd like to see in year two on this little blog of mine, and the popular response was more thrift finds and more befores/afters.  I heard you loud and clear which lead me to start a new series of posts all in the name of thrifting.  I bring to you, Goodwill Hunting.  As in, the thrift store kind of Goodwill and the searching though piles of crap kind of hunting.  I'll go to a thrift store, hunt for treasures, and share pics of my loot in a post.  I may find things I love so much that I'll bring home with me, but I may just snap some pics along the way of things I like or think would be fun to buy, even if I don't have a place for them in my own home.  As for more befores/afters posts, perhaps I'll find so many furniture treasures on my thrifting adventures that I'll have to buy them, bring them home, paint them (or whatever), write about them, and then sell them when I run out of room in my house.  You never know.

Let's get started with post numero uno of Goodwill Hunting.  This isn't exactly a thrift store find, but it very well could have been.  I found this picnic table at an antique shop.  I'm just going to lump antique shops into this little series on thrifting, mmm k? 

When I saw it, I immediately sent a pic to B.J. in hopes he would think it was as perfect for Charley as I did.  Spoiler alert, he did. 

I would have liked to sand all the paint off and stain the wood for a more natural look, but with all of those nooks and crannies I took the easier route, aka spray paint.  I wanted to keep it neutral solely because our deck is very visible from the family room.  I didn't want some crazy colored table being a huge eye sore from the inside.  With hesitation, I decided on black.  I'm still a little unsure of my choice, but it is what it is.

I topped it with a watering can and pretend flowers for Charley.  I think once I freshen up the deck with new cushions, pillows, plants and flowers, the picnic table will look right at home. 

Apparently Libby didn't get the memo that it's not time for a picnic.  How does she sneak into so many blog pics, anyway? 

That brings the first post of this new series to a close.  I hope to be back next week with Goodwill Hunting number two.  As if I need a reason to go to a thrift shop... Pin It

Monday, May 13, 2013

Wooden Tray and a Little Toy Organization

Happy Monday, friends!  I hope all of you moms out there enjoyed your special day yesterday.  Hopefully there was time spent eating bon bons with your feet propped up.  Mine started out with coffee and breakfast in bed, thanks to my sweet husb, which I thoroughly enjoyed.

I also spent some time rearranging a few of Charley's toys around the house.  I think it's good to switch things up every now and then to keep it fresh and her interest high.  I didn't put anything new or different out, I just displayed some things in a different way. 

Last week Charley and I were browsing T.J. Maxx and I found this wooden tray.  I liked the shape and size and twine handles, but I didn't love the color.  Nothing a little spray paint couldn't take care of, though.  That's definitely something to keep in the front of your mind when you're shopping or thrifting.  Try to see past the color of something because spray paint can do wonders. 

The tray quickly turned to white and it now holds some mirrored blocks on our fireplace.  Charley got those blocks for her birthday but she didn't choose to play with them a whole lot.  They were stored in a bigger felt basket, not out in plain sight.  I'm thinking the shallow tray will help draw her attention to the blocks.  Maybe so much so that she won't think about ripping the protective foam off of the bricks.  Wishful thinking.

The white tray almost blends right into the fireplace, so from far away it's barely noticeable.

Pretty much everywhere you turn in our main living space you can find Charley's toys, disguised in some way.  Like the basket of instruments under our coffee table, and the tea party set by the kitchen table.

The basket by the kitchen table actually serves two purposes.  One is to obviously store some toys, but it's mainly there to block the lamp cord that's plugged into the wall.  Let's hope out of sight out of mind seriously works.

Anyone else have some clever ways to store/display/hide/organize toys around the house?  Please share because organizing tricks never get old! Pin It