While we were away we celebrated Kevin’s birthday! I actually haven’t gotten around to finishing his present, but I do have his Father’s Day present to share (four months later…). I originally hadn’t planned on posting about this project (part of my effort to show Kevin that I hadn’t made the piece for the blog – but for him! But I think it’s kind of cool and four months of not posting about it is enough time for me.)
It’s an embroidered bicycle that I then framed and had on display on our mantel for a while. Kevin and his family are big bikers, and I was hoping to hand make something that was special to him personally. He and Olivia LOVE to bike (she is thrilled every time she sees one go by, and constantly asks to go for a ride in her iBert) and I thought that something with bicycles might be fitting for Father’s Day. (I also traced her little hand on a card – something that I think will be neat to do every year just to watch how she grows!)
Kevin is really terrible to buy gifts for. I mean, really terrible. He doesn’t need anything, doesn’t really get excited about anything and in general is hard to impress. I worked on this project during the evenings when he was in class for a few weeks in the spring, when he opened it he thought it was cool and thoughtful and that was enough for me.
Now the embroidered bike sits at the top of the wall collage in the office/guestroom. This is a nice spot for it, perhaps a permanent one.
Sadly, I don’t have photos documenting the progress (goes along with the whole I-made-this-just-for-you part of the gift), but this is an excellent tutorial on how to embroider just about anything. I actually found a generic picture of a bicycle online and printed it out to the proper size, lined it up with an off white fabric scrap I had on hand and reminded myself on how to make a basic embroidery stitch. I didn’t use an embroidery hoop but I will next time. Lesson learned.
It’s a little folksy, a little artsy, and by no means perfect. But that’s what I kind of what I like about it!
Maybe a quick ironing pre-framing would have helped with a few of those wrinkles…
More office/guestroom posts found here.
Tags: Accessories, Crafty Solutions, Decorating, Embroidery, Father's Day, Home, Office, Tutorial
Posted in Crafty Solutions, DIY, Home, Our Guestroom/Office, Renovating Adventures | 2 Comments »
Happy Monday! Before we jump into this giveaway, I have to share that Liv has been cracking me up lately. The rate of words that she is absorbing from everyday conversation, stowing away and reusing these days is just crazy to me. She asked for a shovel while playing with sand yesterday and I gave her a side-eye glance because I had no idea she knew what a shovel was, let alone how to say it and how to then fill up her bucket while singing to herself. And here I am trying to remember remedial Spanish for our trip to Spain, awkwardly sounding out verb conjugations when it’s just us in the car and failing miserably. I need a toddler brain asap.
Speaking of quick changes, I have a new hallway project that I wanted to share with you despite the crazy happenings that are going on on the outside of our house. And this post ends in an awesome giveaway! Double bonus and a big thank you to Lowe’s for sponsoring.
Lowe’s is launching a new program called $50 and Change. I don’t know about you, but it seems that $50 is often that magic number when it comes to tackling a small project from start to finish – and recognizing that, Lowe’s is challenging bloggers and readers alike to create our own projects with this budget in mind and to post those ideas over at the Lowe’s Idea Exchange on Facebook.
Beginning in September and continuing on every other month for a while now, I’ll be sharing one of my own $50 and Change projects as well as giving away a $50 Lowe’s gift card so that on reader can tackle their own, all courtesy of Lowe’s.
High on my list of must-finish-soon projects is to repaint a Craigslist corner unit for our hallway. I kid you not when I say that this bookshelf has stayed in its ‘antique white’ form covered in odds and ends (and other ‘where does this go?’ objects) for the past two years. Though it didn’t come with the house, the unit looks like it was intended as a built-in just for this corner! and I sadly neglected it and turned it into a dumping ground of sorts.
But thanks to a little motivation and a friend coming to town to work on a few paint projects, I stripped this shelving unit down and gave her a full makeover (just like exercise, blame partner accountability to get projects finished!).
Once dry and decorated from items around the house (some will likely stay, some will eventally get switched out as the bookcase evolves), I’m so happy with how this bookshelf greets me now when I enter the hall!
Favorite finds include these two conch shells from a garage sale I happened to drive by on our street – $3 each! And this great vintage painting that I scooped up for about $8 at the Rose Bowl Flea Market.
Also finding a new home in the hallway is a lounging cermic bird (thrift store), a stack of vintage (or just really old?) sailing books from Kevin’s collection, a few favorite black and white photos, my Etsy watercolor find (which provides just the right pop of color and contrast to the blue), a white vase from West Elm (on super sale) and a cut of wood that I’ve outlined our small family tree on for Father’s Day for Kevin.
That blank shelf is staring at me… but I think I might try to track down a triangular basket to give myself even more storage, or load it up with more rolled white towels for guests.
The process was a bit bittersweet. I struggled coming up with the right lining for the shelves, trying out various Paper-Source sheets of wrapping paper to wallpaper to random shades of green, pink and blue before deciding on a dark peacock-navy.
With all of the natural light and soft colors going on in the hallway, the bookshelf was just asking for something deep and saturated.
Plus, when that right door is open you can see the bedroom just beyond, a color that played well with my patterned curtains was a must and this particular blue was almost pulled right out of a scrap of fabric from those curtains.
I actually ended up breaking my own mixing rule and added 1/3 parts Castile to 2/3 Plymouth Blue from Olympic. Armed with a sample of each to test out, I found this combo to be the perfect mix of navy and green – sort of a dark teal, if you will. I saved just a bit of the mixture for patching purposes should I need it.
But before any blue could be applied, this guy needed to go from an antique/manilla white to a nice bright white so that it tied in seamlessly with the trim and doors.
Here she is with a nice layer of primer.
Primer was followed by a semi-gloss bright white followed by taping off top of back bookshelf area and my new favorite blue. That plus lots of touch ups because the edges wanted to keep bleeding on each other…
Looks so great now! So fresh and so clean. The shelf definitely appears to have that built-in quality now that it’s the same shade of white as the trim, and that blue is an unexpected pop of color that meets you as you round the door into the hallway.
My total budget for this project was $50, though I have to admit that I came in about 25% lower and splurged on some extra paint and materials to cover up the back of another bookcase in the house. Details to be shared soon.
My gift card covered: 2 samples of paint in Castile and Plymouth Blue by Olympic (that were eventually mixed together to create that pretty blue-green teal), a small wire frame for rolling (similar to this one – great for cabinetry), a pack of sponge roller brushes, a quart each of primer and a bright white sem-gloss paint, painter’s tape, traditional black sponge brush to help with beadboard (inside of bookcase) nooks and grooves, a drop cloth and paint tray. But you could conceivably tackle this project for $6 (cost of two samples) if you have all of the above painting supplies on hand!
Giveaway: A $50 gift card to Lowe’s!
To Enter: Leave a comment here with the $50 project you have in mind for your space.
Giveaway ends Wednesday, September 12 at midnight PST, winner will be chosen randomly and announced on the blog. Good luck!
For more hallway makeover progress (like my painter’s tape wallpaper), check out this link.
PS If you’re an email subscriber, my apologies if you received ‘half’ an email on Saturday! This is the entire post .
Tags: Accessories, Before & After, Blue, Paint, Tutorial
Posted in Crafty Solutions, DIY, Giveaway, Home, Our Hallway, Project Lowe's, Renovating Adventures, Tools of the Trade | 40 Comments »
This might be the happiest purchase I’ve made this month. It was a little pricey and I was a bit skeptical, but I bit the bullet and ordered a reed diffuser for the house (and since have bought one more). It is absolutely amazing.
If your home, like mine, suffers from the smell of dogs, babies and husband feet, and you’ve tried every nose adjusting cure from here to this side of the moon, this is the missing link.
I promise this isn’t a sponsored post. I’m just that enamored with my little diffuser at the moment.
I’ve tried candles (I eventually grew tired of the fire hazard – once leaving a vanilla candle to burn while running errands (!) and the growing cost of purchasing more and more), plug in air fresheners (which Kevin declared to be absolutely horrible smelling much to my chagrin) and the little motion detector mechanism that poufs Glade into the air when you walk by (my almost-best solution).
But then one day while house shopping with my parents (they’re moving to San Diego!!) I came across the most fabulous, refreshing, neutralizing fragrance. While everyone else pointed out decorative molding and beamed ceilings, I snooped around for plug-ins, candles and potpourri. How did they do it? How did the house smell so darn fresh and delicious? And then I saw it. A little glass bottle full of a lavender-vanilla oil with little reeds poking out of the top. And the house was covered in them. Sure enough, this was the smell-infusing device that my nose had fallen in love with.
My first thought – how did I not know about this magic??
That night I did a little Amazon review research and settled on Nest Fragrances in Moss & Mint (which smells nothing like moss or mint but instead a delicious ‘clean’ that makes you want to float. The reviewers were right). One week later and my second for the back of the house has just arrived in the mail and I couldn’t keep it a secret any longer.
I’ve heard that I can sub out these economically priced reeds when the Nest versions dry up. And that will make my new smell solution price-point perfect and will keep me in happy spirits when I pass by the little glass bottle every day (and every day thus far it makes me sigh and smile). Stinky construction socks, diaper pails and dog food bowl smells be gone.
PS My fiddle leaf fig is healing well! Just a few bruises left but I think she’s going to turn out just fine.
And yesterday was Labor Day! Hope you had a great one. We spent ours with Kevin’s family in Phoenix and this coppertone-baby shot about sums it up:
Liv was hop-skipping with joy over a giant inflatable water slide, while I dug the handmade wood fired pizza, cold lemonade and time with friends.
Tags: Accessories, Home, Products I Love
Posted in Home, Our Dining Room, Product Review, Tips & Ideas | 10 Comments »