Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Easter Eggs and Tulips

photo courtesy Midwest Living

I was so excited when this month's copy of "Midwest Living" ended up in the mail box. (Thanks for the supscription mom.) They had the cutest ideas for spring flower arrangements including this beautiful watering can offering.
Since I was already the proud owner of a vintage watering can I decided to give it a shot, and I'm pleased with the results. Of course I used silks, because here in this portion of the Midwest (Michigan) the sun can still be very hit or miss. I didn't want to worry about fresh tulips and if it was too cold for them. Thankfully, you can find some pretty convincing silks. Come warmer weather, I might just trade out the tulips for more warm weather flowers like Gerber Daisies.
Here's my Easter Basket offering. Last fall, a friend gave me this giant basket and I've loved decorating it seasonally. I really wanted to find some giant Easter Eggs for it and was lucky enough to find some at St. Vincent DePaul along with some crazy grass-like stuff. The eggs only cost $1 a piece. Later I saw some at Micheal's for $10 a piece for similar size. That would have broken the decorating bank.

I'd really like to find an Easter Bunny  that looks like it was made out of chocolate, but for now this mesh bunny will have to do.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

I love me some Spring!!!!

Impatient for Spring, I decided to take matters into my own hands and go to Michigan State University's Hidden Lake Gardens to get a sneak peak at what one of my favorite seasons will soon be offering up...

I'm lucky because my little guy likes our little gardening adventures almost as much as I do. I think gardening is great for kids because it really engages their senses. In this case the whole conservatory smelled of flowers.
Jack also got a kick out of seeing the bees hard at work. In the the tropical area, we even saw a four frogs... very exciting for a little boy, as you can imagine.

Now, I think my few little crocuses popping up in the yard will tide me over until the tulips open.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Now he's cooking

After being inspired by a wonderful nightstand makeover featured on the inspiring Better After Blog, I decided I needed to get my hands on an old nightstand too.
My friend Debbie offered up this victim and I went to work following the inspiration of Lauren at Long-Winded Lauren to create a kitchen for my son Jack for his birthday.
As anyone who looks at play kitchens know, they can cost quite a bit of money. This project probably cost me around $20 total... with the most expensive item being the enamal bowl ($10) used for the sink.

Most items I already had on hand. I used old cds for the burners combined with pieces of wood and old knobs for the knobs. Jack actually helped me pick out the cute alien fabric, though he had no idea what I was going to use it for.

It was nice to create my own kitchen because I could cater it to a boy. While some in the toy industry have made their kitchens gender nuetral, some still are heavy on the pink.

This was my first project using a jigsaw, and cutting a circle the right size proved a little harder than I anticipated, but Jack doesn't seem to mind the imperfections.

I'm actually a little jealous of his kitchen, I love the farmhouse style of it. I'll have to paint my cabinets soon.

I'm linking this to Beneath My Hearts best DYI's of March party.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Don't Pinch Me...I've Got My Green

I've found the posts about green at Centsational Girl this week extremely inspirational. I decided to grab my paint brush and paint my china cabinet. (with only a little trepidation.)

I used some colors I already had on hand. Ralph Lauren's Olive Tree and Valspar's Dress Pink. I mixed them until I cam up with this lovely green. I mixed it a shade lighter to paint the interior of the piece. I also decided to lose the fret work.
I know some people think I'm an awful person for painting over the wood, but it really did have some veneer problems and hey... just look at her now... she's ready for a party. She looked a very somber before. I think she also makes my house trim look better. Although, I'm still considering a change there too.

I'm linking this to the Fabulous Miss Mustard Seed's Furniture Friday.

Any thoughts on the fate of my trim?

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Day After Breakfast

Today, there's probably a few people nursing a hangover. Not me. I always celebrate St. Patrick by making Soda Bread. Today, I'm enjoying a wonderful breakfast of coffee and soda bread.
My husband likes to tease me that I'm really not that "Irish." To which I'm tempted to say, "You're really not a big Jackass," but I don't. I bite my tongue.
I'm some Irish and to me that's what matters.
Besides, this is how I like my soda bread... in big giant hunks. What's not Irish about that?
But yesterday, my soda bread tradition was in jeopardy. I couldn't find my recipe labeled "Dad's Soda Bread." (Note of explanation, I'm not even sure if I have Irish on my Dad's side... I know I have it on my Mom's side. There' Scotch on my Dad's side---but for some reason he uncharacteristically ripped out a recipe for soda bread and made it one year. From that point on I labeled it Dad's soda bread, though I think he only made it that one time. I like to pretend it's been passed down for generations.)
Luckily, I found a blog that had a very similar recipe and it turned out lovely. Hopefully, I'll find that cookbook though because it does actually have a few family recipes in it.
I felt very lucky to find the soda bread recipe and the wonderful blog by Claire, which has oodles of beautiful photographs and other recipes I want to try. Check out her lovely blog, Cook with Claire, but I warn you, your mouth will water.
Here's her soda bread recipe.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Help me decide...please!

Okay, so I know I'm going to earn myself the reputation as the willy nilly wood painter and let me just stop you there. It's not true.
Yes, I just painted my dresser. Yes I am planning on painting my kitchens wood cabinets, but these decisions are not made willy nilly. In fact, I've been losing sleep trying to decide whether or not to paint my home's trim (You can see a little of it in this picture.) Painting it wouldn't be a consideration, except, some of it is painted white and some of it is not...in the same room. UGH.
But on to my latest dilemma... I painted my china hutch. I decided to maintain some of the wood, but now, I'm not sure. (I wouldn't have painted this save the fact it had a number of veneer problems.) Any thoughts? Should I just bite the bullet and paint the whole thing?
Input please... I can't lose sleep over this too.

Monday, March 15, 2010

All it took was a hack saw and some fabric glue

Okay, so this is a really lame before picture, but I have an excuse: our camera was broken. This is the only before picture I could find, but you get the idea. As you can see, I hung the curtains too low. Secondly, the plain blind in the inside didn't really fit the window. I bought them in desperation when we first moved in to avoid giving our neighbors a peep show. The blinds were designed to fit inside the window or outside the window trim, but I had to install them right on the trim...New and improved.

After I worked up some gumption (it only took two years) I cut down the roman blinds, cutting the plastic piece at the top with a hack saw, cut down the fabric to make them fit into the window. I resembled adding this fabric to the top of the original blind, tacking it in a few spots with fabric glue. And they still function perfectly and now you can see the window trim too.

I also rehung the curtians to lift them higher, so things didn't look so squatty. Wow, I wish I would have done this project a year ago.
I'm linking this to Metamorphisis Monday at Between Naps on the Porch.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

There is a method...

...to the madness. Okay, so after I played musical furniture with every smallish table in our house in an effort to make a certain vanity fit in our bedroom (see post below), I called it quits. But hey, it's all good. Spare table, spare chair, spare mirror =vanity (far left).
I had long admired this little crystal lamp that resided on a shelf, forgotten, in my grandmother's sewing room. Then one day, out of the blue, she gave it to me (minus a shade.) Turns out, it was probably forgotten for a reason... it didn't work, but hey, once again, it's all good. A little rewiring, reworking of a lampshade I already had on hand and now I have a lamp I love.
This lampshade is the easiest project ever. I simply tied lengths of vintage seam binding to the frame of an old shade. Granted, I know this look probably isn't for everyone, but I think it's good pairing an ultra fancy base with a deconstructed top... the funny thing is, of all the projects I've done, this one has gotten the most positive feedback from my DH.
"Wow, that's pretty cool. It really ties in with the colors..."he said. ( A comment offered freely with no cajoling from me.)
Yeah, it's almost like someone planned it that way or something. If you notice, even the cat matches. Sorry, only orange tabbys need apply here... not that we're accepting applications at the moment.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

What's gotten into me...

I'm nesting again...okay, don't get any thoughts...I'm not preggers, but I think my subconscious has kicked in and said, "Hey lady, your house needs some attention."
Our house has been on the market for several months (long story) so some of my projects have been on hold, but my subconscious hasn't really liked it. So a few weeks ago I decided this vanity (on the left) was no longer working for a computer desk and decided it needed a new home and an overhaul.
I tried to make it work in our bedroom, thinking on the occasions when I can actually take time to make myself presentable (this hardly ever happens, if I primp I risk leaving the house in the hands of a whirling dervish). After a long and intensive game of musical furniture I realized I'd have to knock out a wall to make the vanity fit in the bedroom.
So now it's in living room. I envision using it for sewing projects, if ever I learn to use my sewing machine. Also, it's been great for the lap top. While laxing on the couch is my usual repose with the laptop, sometimes sitting at a desk lends itself to productivity. (The center actually lifts up, making a perfect place for stowing the laptop too.)

I decoupaged the top of the piece with pages from an old music book. I use Mod Podge for my decoupage, but always do multiple layers of Minwax Poly over the top. I think it makes the finish more durable... Trust me, being in such close vicinity to the couch means there will always be an ice cold beverage perched on the corner of this little desk.

Monday, March 8, 2010

A NEW Dresser and Bookshelves

I want to build almost everything on Knock-Off Wood, but when I tried to build some simple book shelves I realized I'm not ready for that.
While I did manage to get some bookshelves, it wasn't using Ana's plan (my fault, not hers.) Luckily, I had some bookshelves on hand that were too tall for the area I wanted them for... plus they were fold down, so they didn't really seem very substantial. I ended up cutting them down and attaching my mdf to them to create this little book shelf. I "splurged"on some Ralph Lauren paint, which is currently clearanced out at Home Depot and got some vinyl decals on clearance at JoAnne's.
I also had a few pieces left from my Victorian chair that I added to the piece. I'm really happy with how it turned out considering I almost ended up with a pile of mdf instead of shelves.

Now for my "new" dresser. My poor husband thinks I have a vendetta against all his furniture and I really don't mean too.
I have, however, always hated this dresser. Not so much the looks of it but the function... see how you can see from one drawer to the next? Well, in a household of over stuffers that leads to problems... anyway, I ended up stapling some cardboard in between the drawers and we've had some peace in the house so far....
Now for the real changes:
I finally worked up the courage to paint the dresser. I know some people will think it's a crime, but honestly, I love, love, love my dresser now. I think the cream looks so much better against the orange walls.
I also found a home for a favorite flea market find from eons ago... my beautiful sconces.

Ralph Lauren really made the piece. Initially it was just painted cream, but then I got some Ralph Lauren glaze in Tea Stain and it really added to the finish. I feel like I just went to the Pottery Barn and picked out a dresser.
The folks at Home Depot tell me they are going to continue to carry the glazes. I would highly recommend it, it's fantastic stuff.