New Project

Remember this beauty that I found last summer?

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Working on this French settee was my first attempt at reupholstering anything.  It was a beast of a project. But, after all of the labor, it turned out like this

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It found a new home in a little girl’s French-themed nursery.  How perfect.

Well, after 6 months of recovering, I am ready to make my second attempt at upholstery.  I have been stalking this certain chair at my local thrift store for about 3 weeks now, waiting for it to go on sale.  I’m not quite sure why, by my local store seems to charge sky high prices for their used furniture, no matter the condition.

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I tried to buy the chair last week using a coupon I had for 20% off to combine with the store sale of 30% off, but they wouldn’t let me use my coupon.  So I sat it back by the window, and thought it wasn’t meant to be. Until yesterday, on my way to take my kids to the dentist, I saw the sign “Entire Store 50% off!”  I crossed over two lanes of traffic to make a last minute turn into the store, hoping it was still there . . . and it was.  So, at last, I was able to take it home!

I’m excited about it because like the French Settee, this chair will require very little, if any, sewing.  That’s good for me, because I can’t sew.  I have tried to learn many, many times, and it’s just not in my wheelhouse.  But I can pull fabric, and staple it, so this chair will work for me. I  did see two seams on the back that may require enlisting the help of a friend, but I think I can manage that.

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The wood has some amazing carved detail that is going to look awesome painted.

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I’m thinking some sort of gray/white for the wood frame, a solid-color front, and patterned back fabric.

Like maybe some ticking.

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or a chevron

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or even a whimsical floral

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Hmm, that ticking and floral actually look pretty good together . . .

It’s gonna take me awhile, so don’t be looking for the reveal any time soon. Maybe in time for the coming of Spring I can have it ready–it seems like a spring chair to me.

Linking up to:

Elizabeth and Co.

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Blue the New Black?

I love the color blue. It’s my favorite color, and I have it splashed throughout my home.  Most of my clothes are blue, and I guess I’m lucky that I have three boys because they get to wear mostly blue too!

Given that love, I was excited to see the cover of the newest issue of the Pottery Barn Catalog the other day when I pulled it out of my mailbox.

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If Pottery Barn features it on their catalog cover, you know it must be in style! I’m curious to see as the year goes on if I see more and more blue popping up in decor catalogs and blogs.

And speaking of blue . . . over the past two weeks I have moved out all of my Christmas items from my space at ACM and have moved in some new inventory.  As I was setting it all up a few days ago, I noticed something–most of it is some shade of blue! It wasn’t a conscious plan, but after all the warm colors from fall and Christmas, I think I was just longing for my cool, crisp blue again.

There is this awesome 5 gallon vintage blue lard bucket I found in NW Arkansas

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and this wonderful primitive blue wooden shelf I grabbed several months ago at Canton

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This sweet little pitcher I bought at an estate sale last weekend also has a splash of blue.

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And remember this green dresser?

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Guess what color it is now? Yep, blue.

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It wasn’t selling like it was, so I gave it a quick makeover with a new Maison Blanche Chalk Paint color I decided to try, Sugar Cane. It is a very light, delicate blue.  I highlighted the lines with some ASCP Old White and it has a pretty new look.

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I wandered a little bit around the rest of our mall and found some more blue.

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So with all this blue, we must be in style up at the ACM.  I wonder, is blue the new black for 2014? If it is, I won’t complain!

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Elizabeth and Co.

 

Two Trees

Decorating a Christmas tree is one of my most favorite things.  I love them so much, I wish I could keep it up year round.  Creating a beautiful tree takes a little bit of practice, but doesn’t have to cost hundreds of dollars in designer ornaments or first-class trees.  I thought you all might enjoy taking a peek at my Christmas trees (yes, two, and I’ll explain why) and also some tips on how I create a beautiful tree without breaking the bank.

Both of my trees were handed down to me by family.  Neither is pre-lit, and one of them always leans.  No matter though, they have a great look to them and I don’t mind the time of hanging the lights myself.

Our first is our little kitchen tree.  It’s a normal height, but skinny, and it’s the leaner.

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For many years this was our only tree.  It was handed down along with a big box of ornaments and decorations, some of which still hang on the tree.  Most of the ornaments though are ones my children have made.  If you have small children, you know come Christmas time they come home from everywhere–church, school, friend’s houses, camps, etc–with hand-made ornaments.  This little tree is a great place to display them all.

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Because its “their” tree my boys hang the ornaments by themselves.  This fun elf from my childhood takes up residence there once the decorations are done.

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If you are feeling overrun with hand-made ornaments, consider having a smaller, second tree that can be filled with those treasures.

And then, there is MY tree . . .

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As the only woman in a house of 4 boys, I have to fight to preserve “pretty” places.  This tree is one of those.  I am in charge of this tree, and it is where I get to display my pretty decorations

This tree was also a hand-me down and also is not pre-lit.  I light it with both clear and red lights and have a silver, red, and green theme with the decorations.

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This tree is obviously fuller than our skinny tree, but it still wasn’t tall enough to fill up the two-story ceilings in our living room.  So, I’ll share with you my secret–

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It sits on top of a cooler! And, I refuse to pay over a $100 for a tree skirt, so for both of my trees I purchased red fabric and just drape it around the base. It works perfectly fine and doesn’t even require sewing.  The draped fabric camouflages the lines of the cooler, and as presents pile up under the tree nobody  ever notices that it’s propped up.

I have collected my ornaments over the years and they are almost exclusively purchased from Hobby Lobby.  A few boxes I bought for $.99 or under after Christmas at Target.  I also embellish the tree with inexpensive floral sprays from Hobby Lobby. I pull them apart and stuff pieces of them in the branches.

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On top of our staple of red, silver, and green ornaments, I add each year an ornament for each of my kids, again, mostly purchased at Hobby Lobby.  When they are adults and have a tree of their own, I will give them their collected ornaments.

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Also, if we take any trips I try to grab an ornament from our destination.  This one is from a trip my husband and I took to the Boston area before we have kids.

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Isn’t he cute?

I also use floral sprays for the topper instead of a traditional star.  They are just stuck up in the top and spread out to balance the shape of the tree.

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This year I added three of my new vintage postcard glitter banners.  These I made on my computer, printed of myself, and embellished with glittered edges and pretty ribbon.  I love what they add to the tree.

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Even though this is “my pretty tree”, my little ones still enjoy spotting their ornaments on it.

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Gotta love that nap hair!

It continues to evolve each year as I find new things to add.  In any given year though, I generally don’t spend over $10 in tree decor.  It’s possible to have a beautiful tree on a small budget, you just have to make smart moves and get creative.

Be on the lookout for family members who are “upgrading” their trees and may have an old one to pass along. Garage sales are also great places to find trees.  And you can find beautiful ornaments for a fraction of departments store costs at places like Hobby Lobby, Target, or even Wal-Mart.  Try making some of your own decorations, like my glittered banners.  And remember, if you’re just starting out, be patient to collect beautiful things for your tree over the years.

Merry Christmas to you and enjoy your Tree(s)!

Linking up to:

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Dwellings-The Heart of Your Home

Wonderful at Home
Elizabeth and Co.

 

Just Around the Corner

I’m behind in the retail world . . . Christmas started showing up at my mall three weeks ago and until yesterday, I had nothing.  I have been collecting a few Christmas items here and there over the past few months, but I hadn’t given any thought yet to putting together a holiday display in my space.  This past week I made myself spend some time sorting and pricing the few Christmas things I have.  Finally yesterday, I had a chance to load up some things.

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This fun green dresser was an estate sale find last weekend.  It was marked way down because the top had lots of peeling paint, but that’s not a problem for me! I sanded it down a little more to make the distressing more uniform then gave it a good wash down.  The best part is the gold accents on the drawers and french provincial style pulls.

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I like muted Christmas decor, like soft white, silvers and light golds.  But at heart, I am a traditional green and red kinda girl.  So this green dresser was a great anchor point for my venture into Christmas.

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I also love all things miniature, so these mini bottle brush trees from someone’s model train collection are my favorite.  They are scattered throughout my space.

And this isn’t Christmas exactly, but I was excited to find this awesome 42 piece set of Royal  china. On  my way to drop off my Christmas things at the mall, I poked my head into an estate sale right as they announced “90% off everything!” Whoah, awesome! This china set was one of the things I grabbed (more on my deep discount finds later). It is the “Homestead” Collection, and I’ve never see it before.  More great green Christmas color!

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What I really love about it though are the pictures on each piece.  They are all very “homey”, and some are full scenes from an old log cabin, some are singular items like fireplace bellows.  They just feel “warm”.

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And just for a little eye candy . . . here is my friend and next door neighbor, Shannon’s, space at the mall.  She is always so creative in her displays.

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I love the old fan cover as the wreath stand-in . . .

Have you given any thought to your Christmas decorating yet?

Insider Decorating Tip #1

I have never been officially educated in the art of decorating.  I am not a trained professional interior designer.  But, like I mention in my bio, I learned alot about putting together a home from my mother.  She really does have an eye for decorative design and she passed down some of that design instinct to me.  As my husband and I have moved from house to house over the 10 years of our marriage, I have had lots of time to practice also.  Along the way, I have learned some “Insider” tips that the real professionals use and know, and I would like to share some of them with you.

My first insider tip is : Never, ever, ever buy furnishings in a set.  It may seem like the easiest thing is to go to “Big Box Furniture Store” and buy their couch/loveseat/coffee table/side table combo, but what you make up for in ease  you majorly lose in interest.

Think about it–when you see those pictures of bedrooms, living rooms, dining rooms on TV commercials that are priced by the whole set, do those pictures ever look really enticing?  Those rooms are dull, dull, dull.  Variety, contrast, and complementation is what makes a room look interesting.

Take a look at these two professionally decorated rooms, and notice how nothing in the room officially matches.

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photo courtesy CusatoCottages.com

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Photo courtesy of bhg.com

The chairs differ from the couch, and sometimes from one another, the side tables differ from the coffee tables, the lamps are different, pillows are different, etc.  But don’t these rooms look stunning?  If you want to furnish your home like a professional decorator, never buy the set!

In my own home, the room that is most “finished” is my living room.  It is a hodge podge of colors, textures, and wood grains, but they all come together to complement one another.

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Now I know my living room doesn’t look quite as nice as those two pictures above, but it’s not too bad!  And, it was done for very little money, all things considered.  My two biggest expenses in the room are the Pottery Barn rug (which was purchased with a gift card off Ebay), and my sofa (purchased almost 10 years ago for less than $600). Everything else came from Craigslist, flea markets, antique stores, or were hand-me-downs.

My two leather chairs were Craigslist finds.  I purchased them from an older gentlemen and they were like new.  I paid $200 for both of them. When we moved into this house, I needed a side table to set between them, so I pulled one of my favorite pieces from my bedroom, the super shabby white cabinet.

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Totally doesn’t “match”, but it works.  The wood underneath the distressed white complements the leather well.

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You also need to feel free to experiment with various wood tones within a room.  Not everything has to be a dark stained mahogany.  Different wood colors add visual interest, and unless you go from super light to super dark, they almost always compliment one another.

My entertainment center was a hand-me-down gift from some former ministry supporters. It is a really nice Hooker piece, so it will stay with us for awhile.

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The darker honey stain though isn’t exactly the same as the console table I inherited from my grandmother.

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And neither of them perfectly match my floors.  But together, their tones play together well.

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I also have used some non-traditional things as furniture in this space, like two old suitcases.  Stacked on top of one another, they are a small side table and hold my books and  magazines.

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It has taken me years to collect and put together these things, and my room will continue to evolve as I find more unique furnishings.  So, decorating without the set requires some patience . . . but it will pay off!  Your space will look much more professional and much more interesting.  Look for things you like, and for things that complement one another, but don’t match.   Your room will develop over time, and each piece will have its own story and own value to the room.

So, if you have a bedroom set, dining room set, or living room set, I want you to go pick your least favorite piece and list it on Craigslist TODAY!  Then enjoy the hunt for something unique to replace it.  Have fun!

Linking up to Furniture Feature Friday

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36th Avenue Link Party

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Glitter Glue and Paint

Cubbies & Chairs

A few weeks ago I shared this photo on my Facebook page of this great cubby shelf I found at the Canton First Monday market last month (when it was 104 degrees!).

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After getting it back home from Canton, it had to spend a few weeks hanging out on my back porch until a spot in my space at Antique Company Mall opened up.  Today was the day though! With my hubby’s extra set of hands and my neighbor’s truck, the shelf made finally it up to the mall.

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It really is HUGE! I honestly can’t believe I managed to fit it into my van when I first brought it home.  It has tons of character with layers of great, chippy paint; and of course, all those cubbies!

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My kids were having alot of fun sticking their toys in it while it sat on our porch. So much fun, that my husband suggested we keep it.  I was tempted, but really, it is too big for any space I have.  I can’t wait though to see where it finds its new home and what all its new owner will store or display in all those little spots.

Also, I was able to finish up the two cane side chairs I mentioned in my last post.

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They got a couple coats of Miss Mustard Seed Milk Paint in Ironstone, then a wash of dark wax to tone down the bright white.  The paint chipped well in spots, doing that special milk-paint thing I love so much.

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Here is the before picture of them again, just for a reminder

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And one more after . . . they pair up so well with the triangle green side table I have in my space right now.

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So it was a productive day at our household today.  How about at yours?

Linking up to Furniture Feature Friday

and

Power of Paint Party at Domestically Speaking

New Season and New Find

Even though its still averaging in the high 90’s every day here, it was time to move my fall merchandise into my space at the mall.  I try to keep it fresh and do a complete re-do of my space every 3-4 months.  I love the fall and the warm colors that come with it.  I usually gravitate towards blues and greens, but adding in those golds, oranges, and reds in the fall is refreshing in its own way.

I was able to move my French Provincial Dining Table into the space and use it as a great display area.  The golds and reds in the seat cushion fabric and the warm undertones of the stained top went perfectly with the fall theme.   Unfortunately for my display needs, it sold in a matter of days.  Don’t get me wrong–I love having the sale!  But I’ve got to find something to go into its space now!

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Some glittered pumpkins made a reappearance.  I had a few left from last year and made a few new ones also.

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See the old wooden ruler? I found it an estate sale recently along with a package of vintage child and baby pictures.  The two together reminded me of back-to-school, which definitely speaks of fall.  The picture of the little boy in the bottom right corner is my favorite of the stack.  Here is a close-up:

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Isn’t he adorable?  Looks like just about the right age to head off to his first year of preschool.

I also made a fall corner display, anchored by a great old door I found at a local flea market.

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The aged white  scale hanging on the right in the top picture is another great recent find.  It would be really fun hanging in a kitchen, holding fresh fruit.

And of course what is the fall without Halloween?  I am not a very crafty person, but my sister is.  Last year she made lots of really fun Halloween decorative items and I still have a few left to display this year.  I really like the “Boo” and “Spooky” wall plaques.

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My one crafty contribution was the vintage postcard banners. I make those for every holiday and they always sell very well.

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That’s been the action at the booth, at home I’ve had another big project going on.  A client wanted to paint a piano that was handed down to her.  I know, to some of you painting a piano sounds almost sacrilegious!  She wanted to incorporate it into her home though but needed the light honey stain to correspond more with her dark wood decor theme.  So, I am painting it with CeCe Caldwell Chalk Paint in Virginia Chestnut.  It’s the first time I’ve used the CeCe paint, and so far I’m happy with it.  I had to use it rather than the Annie Sloan because there is no dark brown in in Annie’s color line.  The client wants a stained look, so I’m going to experiment with some topcoats to add some additional depth.

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And lastly, I’ve got this incredible, HUGE cubby shelf waiting to make it up to my space.   It has chippy, white paint all over it and some spots of light turquoise also.  I’m really excited about setting it up to display in my space.  Think of all the fun, cute, little things you could set in these cubbies!

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Well, hopefully the weather will begin to cooperate with my fall decor.  I’m anxious for those cool nights and falling leaves!