It's My Anniversary!

Five years ago today...

...and still going strong (though a little less mobile!)

I am off to celebrate my anniversary today! Thought I would have a few more projects done to show you, but time seems to have gotten away from me. I promise I'll show you what I've been up to next week!

Have a great weekend!


One Way To Conquer the Brown Thumb

What do you do when your mother-in-law gives you a beautiful terrarium for your birthday, but you have an uncanny ability to kill plants?

You go shopping at Michael's.

I snagged an adorable little bunch of fake plants this weekend (on clearance, no less!), and now I have the best of both worlds: a pretty terrarium that looks like I know how to grow things, but no watering required!

Just don't look at my weedy backyard garden. It would totally blow my cover.


Mirror Adjustment

Thank you all so much for your kudos on my curtains! I am so happy with them, and I feel like a whole new world is opened up to me, now that I am not so afraid of the sewing machine! Yippee!

A new challenge: I recently bought a beat-up mirror for $10 at a thrift store. It is round, and so I had hopes of making it look something like this:

Or maybe like the one over the fireplace here:

Or even the gorgeous mirror above the bed in my inspiration photo from the amazing designer Heather Chadduck:

Sadly, right now the mirror looks like this. And yes, that is me in my bare feet in my oh-so-glamorous garage. One of these days I am going to puncture something.

Right now, the mirror's frame is made of what appears to be plaster. I am thinking it was a builder's special awhile back, then got abandoned. But I have hope!

What I'd really like to do is add some dimension to the frame. Something to keep it from looking flat and boring. And of course I would paint it. But how do I add the dimension so that it looks like the other mirrors in this post rather than, well, how it looks now? Trim? Nailhead details? Something else that I could glue to it? What do you think?

If anyone has any brilliant ideas, or knows of some cool product that would help me on my quest to bring life to this boring mirror, please share!

And please don't judge me by my garage.


Toile La La La!

I honestly cannot believe what I did this weekend.

I made curtains.

The kind with lining.

And toile.

And a sewing machine.

Are you as shocked as I am?

Let me show you! Here is the "before" photo of our bedroom:

Like so many other girls I know in the blogging world, I love designer Heather Chadduck's style. She used to work for Cottage Living magazine, I think, before it went under. I came across this photo of a bedroom she designed. How great are those curtains? Really, how great is every single thing in this room? I am a total copycat.

This is not the place to give a tutorial on how I made my curtains, because, let's face it, I don't know what I'm doing. But I kept repeating The Nester's motto: It Doesn't Have To Be Perfect To Be Beautiful! Amen sister.

Seriously though, don't you love how the curtains just transform the whole room? It feels so much warmer in there!

I am so in love with how they turned out! The fabric is from Calico Corners in case you're on the hunt for some yourself.

I think I might spend the whole day in bed.


Automatic Lights and Instant Charm

Just checking in with a little tip to share! We pulled into the driveway last night and were greeted by this. Yes, my favorite neighbor watered my plants so they wouldn't die while I was out of town. And yes, my grass is very, very long after being gone for a week. But let's focus on the positive, shall we? :)

I use an automatic timer on the lamp in our front window. Stop the world, I know! But the thing is, I use it even when I am not out of town. My days get hectic and I can't always remember to run over and turn on the lamp when dusk hits. But the thing is, I still want my home to look welcoming and inviting, even if I am inside with my teeth unbrushed and toys all over the floor!

So, if you have a few extra minutes and about ten extra dollars, go out and get an automatic timer. Stick a little lamp in your front window because, admit it, you love to peek in people's houses and catch a glimpse of the inside! Instant magic: the lamp turns on, your house looks charming and adorable, and you can sit around in your sweatpants if you want. And there's one less thing for which you have to be responsible!

Don't you wish we could set an automatic timer for other things? Making dinner, perhaps?


Renovated Table Reveal!

I am so excited about this table! It is so much fun to bring something back from the land of decorating neglect. Even better, I think, is being able to shop your basement for things that are ready for a makeover and are also free! This whole project cost about $75. (Replacing the legs was about $50 and the paint and glaze was $25. I already had all the other materials.) Not bad for a whole new table that I adore, huh?

So, once again, here's where we started. A nice, sturdy, heavy and boring work table.

And here she is now, with new paint, new stain, new legs and a whole new look!

And of course you probably noticed what is now sitting on top of my cute new work table. Yep, it's that sewing machine that I keep talking about. I don't know if I've been inspired by the new table or what, but my sewing machine has actually seen some action! I will definitely never win any sewing awards, but stick around to see what I've been making with this gorgeous fabric:

I am heading back to Ohio for a week to visit family and friends, so probably won't be around much until next week. I'll be dreaming of toile in the meantime. See you soon!


Furniture Renovation Part V: Painting and Antiquing

Phew! We made it to the final segment in this series! Painting and antiquing furniture is a lot of fun, and it gives you that instant gratification that we all love so much.

The first step is to prepare the surface to receive the paint. You can sand it, or, if you're lazy like me, this liquid sandpaper might be a good option too:

After doing all that sanding on my table, I was ready for a change. I applied this liquid sander with a steel wool pad, and it definitely "roughed up" the surface enough to be able to take the paint. Just let it dry for 30 minutes or so, and then it's ready to paint. However, if your piece will be taking a lot of wear and tear, I think sanding might be the better way to go.

Then I just started painting! I used Behr brand (eggshell finish) in a pretty robin's egg blue that I totally copied from Tracey over at Notes from a Cottage Industry. She has a custom color recipe that I just took to Home Depot and had them mix for me. Love it!

I applied two coats of paint. I didn't prime first. I am on the fence about priming because I am lazy! I have primed before, if I am using a darker paint color, or if I know the piece needs to be super-durable. But like I said, laziness wins sometimes. So I leave the decision to you!

After the paint dried overnight, I went back to start the antiquing process. First I grabbed some sandpaper (150 grit) and gently rubbed off some of the paint along the edges of the table. If you click on the photo below to enlarge it, you can see one of the raw edges.

Then I got out my trusty Behr Faux Glaze. This stuff is fun! As you can see in the photo below, it is white until you add some color to it. The instructions say to add 4 parts glaze to 1 part color. I just added some acrylic paint that I had lying around (purchased from Hobby Lobby, it's Folk Art "Coffee Bean").

Here's the glaze after I mixed it with paint.

Basically, you just rub the glaze on until you like the way it looks. I used a damp paper towel to apply. Just kind of goop it on there, wait about 30-60 seconds to let it dry just a bit, then go back again with the paper towel to "tweak" how it looks. Work in small sections at a time and let a little more of the glaze gather in the corners and the crevices of the furniture. I think it looks more natural that way, as if the piece has aged over time.

Below, you can see how the glaze looks when it is dry. To get this look I just wiped back and forth with the paper towel, trying to create light streaks of color. I was going for a very understated "antique" look, but certainly you can add as much or as little as you like. I think a brown glaze looks nice on lighter colors, like this blue or a white or cream. If I was antiquing a black or brown piece, I would probably just use sandpaper on the edges and forget the glaze all together.

I will leave you with a few links that were helpful to me. Once again, Tracey over at Notes from a Cottage Industry has a great post on how she "antiques" her furniture. Also, Kimba from A Soft Place to Land recently gave us her Ten Tips on Painting Wood Furniture.

Good luck with all your projects! I hope this series has been helpful to you. And next week I will show you the final product...my new cottage work table is complete and ready for action!