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Thursday, September 30, 2010

Like New!

The "ewww" factor has been erased. Here is my ugly duckling bench, made beautiful! I am happy with result, and even happier with the cost:
Bench: $1.00
Spray Paint: $4.00
Fabric: Free! (sample)
Total: $5.00 plus a little elbow grease

This piece tucks nicely under our coat rack and adds a shot of color (who doesn't love deep teal?) to our entry way.
Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Looking back

Three years ago today, I married this man.

We allowed ourselves only three months to plan our wedding, but in the end, we "got hitched" without a hitch, thanks to the help of talented friends and family and a heavy dose of creative DIY.

I designed our invitations and programs and had a friend who is amazing with graphic design edit and lay them out for printing. The invitations were printed on solid green cards that I found at Target; the programs were made to look like luggage tags, knotted together with a length of ribbon. 

My dress? I happen to have a seamstress for a mother-in-law! My gown grew from a pattern she developed after viewing my many magazine tear sheets and sketches. My veil was a nine-inch Russian piece with scattered rhinestones, ordered though For a few dollars, I embellished it by glueing a few feathers, flowers and crystals to a comb.

The flowers? I happen to have a florist for a sister-in-law! Her manager at the time kindly offered us wholesale pricing. She and my sisters put together bouquets of my favorite flowers: green cymbidium orchids, white dendrobium orchids and green tea roses. The perimeter of the ceremony was lined with pomanders made of green carnations, and a few also hung from the gazebo where we said our vows.

Both the ceremony and reception took place outdoors at a local historic village, Ushers Ferry. The older buildings and plenty of greenery made a pretty backdrop that required minimal decorating.

My husband and his extended family have a "thing" for classic cars. Cam has restored a number of them and owns a few as well. To incorporate this into our day, we had them all displayed on the lawn where the reception dinner took place. Of course, his '68 red Corvette was the perfect getaway car!

One of my favorite details was the personalized Jones Soda bottles! The Green Apple flavor and our black and white engagement picture on the label fit our grey and green color scheme perfectly.  We added our "thank you" to the back and gave them away as fun guest favors

These are just a few highlights from our day to remember. Thanks for reading!

Monday, September 27, 2010


I could hardly bring myself to touch this little bench. Its "ewww" factor made me wish I had rubber gloves. Grimy and gross, both with capital G's! But, for a dollar?

The seat was immediately tossed. While supper was cooking, I buzzed over the rest with the sander and now it's ready for paint. Surprisingly sturdy, this bench begs for a new cushion and a fresh coat of paint. Stay tuned!
Friday, September 24, 2010


While cleaning out an old desk that will soon be vacating our home office, I came across these "old-school" clipboards. This was a classic case of function with no form, so I went about making them pretty.

I don't think I've touched Mod Podge since I was a child (when I decoupaged everything in sight), but a single coat of it, overlaid with scrapbook paper, did the trick in a few short minutes.

Holding paint chips, fabric swatches and/or anything else I feel like looking at, these clipboards add a bit of color and pattern to the wall. How about displaying photos this way? Switching them would be a snap!
Wednesday, September 22, 2010

More DIY!

They (whoever "they" are) always say that renovation projects take time and money. We always seem to have more time than money; hence, DIY is a common refrain for us. For the big stuff, we call on our friends and relatives to lend us a hand.

On Monday, we checked another project off our list: the basement floor in the addition.

A few shots of all the action:

Pump setting up - I think the whole neighbourhood came out to watch.

Mixer - We were not about to do the mixing by hand, although it had been suggested!

The fun begins!

Using a screed to level the concrete


Smoothing things out

Cleaning up the edges

Finishing up with a power trowel
We owe our thanks to a few tired (and we're guessing sore) workers who worked long and hard on our behalf. We're so happy to have completed this phase. You'll see more of this room someday when we make it cozy and comfortable for entertaining. 

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

piles and piles

I don't have a closet bursting with fabric, like some people I know, but my stash is growing thanks to frequent deep digging in the remnant bins as well as saving leftovers from previous projects. My sewing machine and I need some quality time together. I'm thinking pillows. Maybe I'll even share!

See anything that would make a pretty pillow for a room in your home?
Monday, September 20, 2010


Using, a winner was selected for my first Giveaway: 

Susie @ Maddie's Nest said...

Glad you found me so I could find you! Great pretty.
Please email me your address so your print can be sent.

Thanks to everyone who played, and a huge thank you goes out to Geninne for sponsoring it!


Check out my find of the week:
(I'm so tempted to fill the next several lines of this post with exclamation marks!)

A friend and I stopped into a little shop, and we happened upon this lovely fabric. Isn't it awesome how a traditional print becomes bold and graphic when the scale of the design is blown up? The price was oh-so-reasonable, so I scooped up every last yard on the floor, knowing exactly where I would use it.

Although a finished dining room is a long way off, my plan is to sew this print into long drapes, trimmed in an equally bold color to frame the doors leading to the patio. If I decide to paint the door and window frames black, with the trim white, don't you think this fabric will be perfect? 

Of course, the windows and doors must come first. That shipment is due soon, and the install (yes, it's a DIY install) will begin right away. Stay tuned for photos...
Friday, September 17, 2010
Over the past few days, I have noticed more and more area homes decorated to welcome Fall. Admittedly, outdoor decor takes all forms, but scarecrows and hay bales aside, it's the classy stuff - like wreaths gracing the front door - that I love to see. Here are a few that I would consider...if only our exterior was worth decorating! (It's amusing to watch people drive by, slowly with craned necks, as if trying to discern whether the house is going up or coming down.) For all of you with nicely sided or bricked houses and pretty front doors, how about turning heads in a good way with something like this?


Modern and fun...

Use your favorite color!

An indoor option...

Pretty felt ruffles...

Easy, affordable and cute alternative!

Apples and feathers?! Yes, please!
Don't these make you want to pull out your glue gun?  Would you try any of these or do you have other ideas for fall and winter decor? I would love to see what kind of wreath makes you smile.

P.S....Make sure you get in on my giveaway-Tomorrow is the last day! Enter to win a cute little watercolor print. 
Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Planning Ahead

Over the past week and a half, Cam and our brother-in-law (who happens to be, conveniently, an electrician) have worked long, hard, and even odd hours wiring our addition. My job? I got to point a lot and say where I wanted lights, how many, what kind, which should be on dimmers, how many switches, the position of outlets...whew!

Making these decisions required planning how each space will be used when finished. The master bedroom was the easiest, since we know the size and location of the bed. The dining room, on the other hand, took considerably more effort. In my head, I placed an imaginary dining room table and seating for 8-10. We enjoy entertaining, and we look forward to hosting gatherings of our extended family as well as friends without asking anyone to BYOC (bring your own chair). I began to envision the perfect fixture to hang above the elusive table, but quickly realized I also needed to factor in the flow of traffic from the kitchen into the dining room, through the french doors and out to the patio. Visualizing that flow, and deciding to act on our quest for a coffee/dessert bar and a buffet table resulted in an "aha!" moment. Instead of one fixture, we'll have two! What a great way to to double the impact of a classy chandelier.

Now, I'm on the hunt for a perfect pair. Here are a few that have caught my eye:

I'm also collecting ideas for seating at that imaginary table. Rest assured, I'll be bypassing the standard dining room set in an effort to remove the seriousness for which formal dining rooms are known. I'm aiming for personality and style, and not ever having to suggest to our guests, "Let's move to more comfortable chairs."

This just might be the perfect opportunity to sit on, rather than store, my the growing collection of miscellaneous chairs. It also might be the time to consider an upholstered piece, either a bench or settee, to stand in place of a few chairs. It would be fun to fight over who gets the cushy seats, and so long as a durable fabric is chosen and Scotchguarded (hmmm, where do you to put the TM symbol when making verb out of a brand name?), keeping it clean shouldn't be an issue.

Via Style at Home

Via Pheobe Howard

Via House and Home

Via Michael Partenio
Tell me, how do you dine?  Do you prefer the orderliness of matching table and chairs? If mixing things up is too bold for you, what about switching out just the seats at the end of the table with something different?
Friday, September 10, 2010


Has anyone “been” where I am right now?

- The home office remains a work in progress.
- The fabric I selected recently has not yet miraculously sewn itself into drapes.
- I’ve started the arduous task of scraping the layers and layers of paint from the staircase.
- More than one sample board is in progress.
- I am days away from tackling a room I am looking forward to decorating.

But…what I really want to do is attempt an upholstered headboard for my own bedroom. The blank wall behind my bed is crying for something pretty, and I want to fix it, and fix it now! It’s not that I’m short on ideas…

Via Caitlin Creer Interiors
Via Amanda Nisbet Design

Via Domino
Via Massucco Warner

Via Me Oh My
Via Three Men and a Lady
Upholstered headboards are an “of-the-moment” item, albeit a great one that I intend to embrace. Of course, you will be the first know when my mission is accomplished.
Thursday, September 09, 2010


So many to make.  I'm not complaining, because the great part about completely gutting a house is that you can make any change you wish. Why, then, does the word "overwhelming" come to mind so frequently?  

We have French style patio doors along with three double hung windows on order for the addition. I'm looking forward to all the natural light these panes will siphon into the house, and I'm starting to dream about how we will finish all our windows. Yes, another decision!

I love the crisp and clean look of white. However, I keep coming across images of windows with their frames and mullions painted black. It's a rather daring move, suitable to both modern and traditional homes. Ours is a mix (that's good). I am only willing to paint once (that's not necessarily good), so I need to be very sure of this decision. What do you have to say about black frames and mullions with white trim? Should I do it?

Via House and Home
Via House and Home
Via Sarah Richardson
Via House and Home
Via Sarah Richardson
Via House and Home
And if I do, should I go all out and coat the doors with a rich, inky shade of black?  I'm thinking maybe so, but would love to hear your thoughts.

Via House and Home