Monday, October 31, 2011

Belly up to the bar...cart.

Happy Halloween! Or is it? I'm not a huge fan (in fact, I think you either are or you're not), and I feel like a bit of a scrooge saying this, but...I'm not handing out candy this year. In fact, I didn't even decorate because I just didn't have it in me. My halloween decor consists of one glittery skull and a fake that just makes me lazy, right? Ah well, maybe next year. My sister will be holding down the fort & handing out candy to all the kids that insist on pushing each other on our stairs for that god forsaken Twix bar. Note to self: remove my precious mums from the danger zone.

Okay, moving along! Something that's not halloween related? I just finished working for my first client! Okay, so that client would be my sister, but everyone has to start somewhere, right?! We found this retro tea cart with the intention of turning it into a bar cart. Tea, booze. Tomato, tomatoe.

The four removeable trays were rather scrufty (yes, it's a word), so I needed to figure out a way to cover the existing surface which was half faux wood, half laminate. Yummy. Lucky for me, my sister is pretty laid back, and with the exception of the color of the cart (she chose black), I was given free reign to figure out the rest.

First, I thought about decopage. But then I realized I have ZERO experience in that arena. So my genius ways led me to a local hardware store, where the helpful sales guy cut me 4 pieces of double pane glass. I made sure to bring ALL four trays with me, just to make sure they were all the same size--which they were. Whew! Can you imagine having to go back for MORE glass in the event that they weren't?! I did opt to forgo the finished edging, as it would have been more expensive. Which, I'm sure I'll regret that decision the next time I try to ch-ch-change things up & cut a huge hole in my hand.

Then the cart got 3 coats of paint, and the trays got 2. As you can see, I wasn't particular about spraying the trays, since my plan was to line them with paper or fabric...

And in the spririt of using what you've got, I lined the trays with some leftover wallpaper from the real, real entryway. My sister was totally cool with the bonus points to me for saving us some cash along the way.

Woot, woot! Looks good, right? Let's get this party started!

The amazing glassware is courtesy of our mom....she scored those silver polka dot babies for $20 at a local thrift/junk shop, and they're in amazing condition! The vintage cocktail shaker is also a gift from my mom...a nod to my sister's old riding days.

We've since added new booze & accessories to the cart and I'm happy to report the end result is 100% sister approved! Pumpkin martinis anyone? Now that's the halloween spirit!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

And then there was wallpaper...

We finished wallpapering the real, real entryway!

Remember the before?

And now...the after!

Pay no mind to the dangling light fixture in the last photo. The plan is to keep it dangling while I decide if I want to replace it with another sconce, or hire an electrician to come and install an overhead light (of which, there is currently none). Right now I'm leaning towards just replacing the sconce, as we have some upcoming events at our house (yep, we're tackling Thanksgiving again this year...this time with a kitchen!), and it's just the easier route at this point.

And those ugly doorbells? Yep, we gotta do something about those too. They're never used, so I'd sort of just like to get rid of them all together. But since I'm not an electrician and don't know a thing about that stuff, I'm hoping we can just find suitable covers & the husband can work his rewiring magic (you hear that husband?).

And for those of you wondering, the wallpaper is from Sherwin Williams and the book is called Ink. I think you can also find it at Lowes, but in this case, the price at Sherwin Williams was just a bit cheaper (with more personalized service...but that could just be my store!). This pattern definitely did not jump out at me online, but in person it had me at hello. Funny how things work out that way, huh?

And now the fun stuff begins! I'm working on some wall art, and crossing my fingers to find a great console table to complete the space (easier said than done!). I'll be sharing progress photos along the way!

Happy Wednesday!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Before & After: The Family Edition

I love a good before and after. And in this case, I love a good before and after when it's someone else's. Because I'm nosey. But no, seems I get most of my inspiration from what's out there--blogs, magazines, Pinterest (I do peruse from time to time), what friends & family are doing to their homes, etc.

My cousin Kim & her family recently moved into a new home with a fabulous laundry/mudroom. Yep, it's fabulous. And truth be told I'm just a little bit jealous. Maybe it's because our washer & dryer are located in our dungeon of a basement, we barely have a place to put our shoes when we come home, or (wait for it) we don't have a coat closet. True story. Ah, the joys of old homes, right?

Okay, so let's get back to Kim & her fabulous mudroom. Here's what they were working with before, a total blank slate...

(P.S...don't you just love the chore clipboards for the kids? I'm thinking this might be useful in our home for...cough, cough....the husband. And I suppose me too.)

My uncle helping with the project...

And the after!

Doesn't it look awesome? A stylish and functional space...there's nothing better! Kim's plan is to add art & photos to the space, and I can't wait to see what things look like when she's finished. And this is the point where I'd add a link to her blog so you could see their great home...but sadly, there is none. Maybe this is the push she'll need to start one too (sort of like the push I need to join Pinterest)!

My mom and I (well, mostly my mom) will be finishing wallpapering this weekend in the real, real entryway. I'll be back next week with an update! I can't WAIT for this project to be finished! Not in an "ugh, I can't wait for this project to be finished" kind of way. But more like, "I'm anxious to see how this all turns out!" Now we can start welcoming guests into our home in a more stylish fashion!


Friday, October 14, 2011


Um, so how did a whole week go by without me knowing? It's as if I blinked and wooosh (which, yes is a technical term) it's Friday! Which is a good thing. A really, really good thing.

Okay, onward and upward! So I'm back and ready to share some before & after photos of the letters I scored at the Country Living Magazine fair last month. Need a reminder of what they looked like before? Of course you don't, you saw them last week. But what's a before & after post without seeing the before pics again, right?

These plastic letters were $12 each. I wish I could recall the name of the booth where they came from, but I was too busy sweating & fighting off fair folk to pay any attention. I can tell you, however, the man running the booth was wearing really tight cowboy jeans. How that's relevant to this story, I'll never know. But I thought it was worth mentioning. Now there's a visual for you!

Anyhoo! After rummaging through a few baskets I was able to find the letters I was looking for. They were all pretty scuffed & scratched but I wasn't worried about that since the intention was to paint them anyway (you know me, right?). Aside from a small hairline crack--not to mention the warped, wonky nature--in the "a", the letters were looking pretty good. So after a quick wipe down & 2 coats of Valspar Cherry Red....we were in business! The letters looked amazing, if I should say so myself.

Then I got down to business removing the existing pictures from the wall, hanging the letters & rearranging the pictures into a modified gallery around said letters. Okay, that sentence made no sense, but you'll understand that nonsense when you see the after pictures. Here's the before...

About 2 hours, a whole lotta breaks for wine & the latest episode of Teen Mom later, I was finished! And then I made the single worst mistake of the entire process. Tooting my own horn. After turning out the lights & heading to bed, I heard a loud crash in the kitchen. Make no mistake what that was. The wonky letter "a" came crashing down, taking 3 pictures with it. Remember that "small hairline crack"? Well, the "a" had officially split into 3 pieces.

I was devastated. And I know that sounds really dramatic, but after 2 glasses of wine & all that work, you'd be devastated too, right? I figured the best thing to do was to walk away and figure things out in the morning. But I just couldn't. So I spent the better part of 45 minutes (and a little Chelsea Lately to lighten the mood) super gluing and taping the thing together. Here's the classy outcome...

The following day I went over things with another coat of spray paint (not my best effort, but will do). Things still weren't back to the way they originally looked, but I feared that doing too much beyond that point would only make things worse. So I gave up...for now.

After all of the drama was said and done, I give to you the final (I think?) results!

Given everything that happened to get to this point (my emotions are somewhat settled by now), I'm quite pleased with the outcome (as is the husband...bonus points)! The pictures are crappy, I get that. But after living with things for the last couple of weeks now, I'm loving the totally unexpected look of this wall. Betcha didn't see that coming when you round the corner into our tiny kitchen! I think I'll add a few more frames to the montage at some point, but for now things are staying just as they are. I wouldn't want something else crashing down on me!

Happy Friday my friends!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Thursday thoughts

Okay, so this post is about to get all sorts of random today. The mind is flowin'...

I'm not on Pinterest. There, I said it. I mean, here's the thing...I'm really bad with time managment these days. Note to self: must learn to say no to more things. Or stop watching too much Real Housewives (NJ, NY, Beverly Hills, Orange County, Atlanta...girl doesn't discriminate). I'm thinking this is the reason I don't get everything done that should. Now let me just state that Pinterest is in fact, amazing. But also a huge time suck. And I don't have much time left to suck. I think the fact that I'm not on Pinterest annoys my cousins to no end. Every once in awhile I get a message or e-mail asking, "why aren't you on Pinterest?" or "did you get my invite to Pinterest yet?". I think they're both trying to tell me something. Bye, bye Housewives....

I am obsessing over this book...

I bought it last month and have been reading it page by page, just dying over all the photos, creative goodness and inspiration. Totally worth the $35 if you ask me. I picked up mine at West Elm, but spotted it at Anthropologie (and I'm sure B&N carries it too). In case there's anyone out there who doesn't have it yet!

Remember how we got a tree removed from our backyard? Here's how things looked in August...

And here's how things look in today...

No, your eyes don't deceive you. These guys still haven't come back to finish their work of removing the stump, adding fill & shaping up the landscaping. They were supposed to show up yesterday and surprise (well, really, no surprise actually) they didn't. It's important to mention that since signing the contract in July (after they no-showed, cancelled or showed up late over the course of 3 times to give me an estimate) their track record for doing work has been pretty much the same. Blood boiling much? I think so. Will these guys get paid on time (after the work gets completed of course)? I think not.

Okay, moving on! Something that's helping to ease my temper today is the discovery of this awesome blog. I aspire to look this good when I'm pregnant one day...

Probably not, but a girl can dream.

And that concludes today's random rants and thoughts. Get ready to TGIF!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Entryway progress!

So we made some progress on the real, real entryway this weekend. And by "we" I mean, my mom. She's really, really good at this wallpapering thing. And I feared if I bothered to tackle this alone (impossible) or with the husband (hello arguments!) things just weren't going to turn out the way I originally envisioned.

Anyhoo! You may remember the entryway used to look like this...

And now, things are looking like this....

Ahhh! I love it! But it's only just progress at this point. It's kind of hard to tell, but we stopped just past the front door because we ran out of wallpaper. But this really comes as no surprise since I waltzed into Sherwin Williams with half-ass room measurements. And the poor manager had to do his best to figure out just how much I'd need. He even warned me I may not have enough. But since I like to live dangerously, I ordered only one double roll. Consider that a lesson learned....

So let me tell you, wallpapering is intense! And I would know this because I watched. This particular pattern required an identical match up, so needless to say we lost a lot of length in the process. I think my mom said something to the effect of, "you shouldn't have gone with such a detailed pattern". Second lesson learned....

We also had an issue with scratches. We don't know if it was the brush or what, but there are some noticeable dings (if you really take the time to look) where the black rubbed right off the wall. So then we resorted to using an old beach towel for a more smooth application. Third lesson learned... 

Overall, this little space should be relatively easy to finish. Another roll of wallpaper is on its way, a new light fixture needs to be installed, artwork to hang & a console table to find (which is already proving to be difficult). All in good time...which is hopefully soon!

And remember these letters I picked up at the Country Living fair?

I'll be back this week to share what I did with them! I bet you have zero clue what I spelled out...

Monday, October 3, 2011

Epic fail... the term used to describe my blogging abilities this past week. I got hit with a nasty cold that nearly had me down for the count. But with work, prior commitments & a million other things going on, I was forced to just truck through it. And that, my friends, was no fun.

But now I'm back to the land of the living! Reading blogs, getting back into some fun house projects (that I'll be sharing soon), etc. And I'm happy to announce that the husband and I became parents last week!

Wait for it....




Meet Harvey. This little guy came home with us last week! He's a chubby, 5 year-old, house trained, cuddly miniature pincher who we adopted from our city shelter. If you know me, you know that I was dead set against getting a dog (the same can't be said for the husband). I just didn't want to deal with the work associated with having a dog, you know? But all that changed when we met Harvey (formerly Harley) at the farmer's market last weekend. And so far, so good. He has been wonderful (aside from the nasty kennel cough he picked up at the shelter). For those of you who didn't know about our apologies. We're slowly working into a routine & trying to gain some normalcy in our lives (trying being the operative word here!)...

I'll be back tomorrow with an update on the front entryway!

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