Thursday, January 31, 2013

Art And Knobs For The Bathroom

We have a 1/2 bath just off our laundry room that serves as a bathroom for us and visitors.  It was not spared in the great wallpaper palooza that occured somewhere around 1982 (I'm guessing).  Fortunately, moderation reigned in the form of a simple western wallpaper border.  Although the old vanity had already been painted white at that time, there was still plenty of work needed to freshen up this space.

During the Work With What You Have series, we took down the border, gave the whole thing a fresh coat of paint and installed a new light fixture (paint is the same Granite Dust color that's on the darkest stripe in the breakfast nook and the rest of our kitchen walls). We also painted and organized under the sink.  At that point she looked like this:


Today, it took me about 30 minutes to switch out a couple of knobs and brings in some much needed art/color to the walls!

I actually love these old knobs and am absolutely keeping them, but this space needed some color and a fresh look.

I snagged these babies from Hobby Lobby.  50% off made them just under $3 a pop!

 I definitely liked the color but wasn't loving the square shape as much as I thought I would.

A quarter turn to the right and diamonds just might be a girl's best friend!
They're a little large but we'll see how they work

The construction in this 1967 built house is pretty solid but all the vanities have this gap under the ledges.  Someday we'll get around to updating those too.  For now, we're excited about knobs!

And about filling some of that wall space!

I picked up these fine feathered prints several months ago (also Hobby Lobby).  The coral, blues and greens spoke to the color inspiration for our breakfast nook, but we ended up going with different art for that area.  I've been looking for a place to use them and since this bath and laundry room are right off the kitchen, it was the perfect way to weave the kitchen's color story into the neighboring space.

I originally wanted to display them in a couple of thin silver frames, but in a random Walmart stop I spotted these black ones for just $4.98 each.  Can't beat "close enough" on a dime!

We pulled out the mats, which double as a great photo props for chocolate covered faces....

And chunky monkey cheeks

I popped in the birds and hung them centered above the toilet.  I lined up the center of the gap between the frames with the middle point of the mirror.  

They are a welcome pop of color and will be great inspiration for the window treatment and accessories!

 I have my eye out for a narrow tray for the back of the commode or something fun and functional to fill that spot.

That leaves us with just a few more things and we can call this room D-O-N-E!

1/2 Bath Checklist:

-Remove wallpaper and scrap walls
-Replace wood toilet seat
-Organize and paint inside of vanity cupboard
-Update knobs
-Replace, paint or make a new countertop
-Replace faucet
-Replace light fixture
-Art and accessories
-Window treatment
-Frame out the mirror/medicine cabinet
-Floors (paint grout for now and eventually replace the old tile)

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Wednesday, January 30, 2013

February: Behind Closed Doors

We've spent the majority of January attempting to whip our his/hers shared office into organized shape and give it an aesthetic that both the hubs and I enjoy.  Have I ever mentioned that we have completely different taste when it comes to home decor?  I'll save how we struggle through that to find common ground for another post.

For now, we're trying to wrap up a few of those lingering office projects this week, and with the faint light of order at the end of the tunnel finally in sight, I've been thinking about where to focus for February.

This has been the worst winter as far as stomach bugs, colds, and general ickiness.  We've needed to access medicine and remedies in the middle of the night, and instead of knowing exactly where and what to grab, we were plowing through this at 1am.
Don't mind the pink headband and the black bear claw.  It actually wasn't quite this bad, but our midnight scrambles and digging have left it a hot mess.  To say the least.  We sure could pretty up the inside too.

Sadly, it's not the only cupboard in our house in need of help.  The shelves below this one have a hodge-podge of towels and linens that constantly get mixed up....the linen closet in our master bath is a similar story....I'm pretty sure I saw a bike helmet in the pantry the other day....let's not even mention the coat closet in the front entry....and the kitchen cupboards, while not as crazy, could definitely use some better thought. 

So, I'm deeming February the month of cupboards and drawers!  I know I won't get to them all, but if I can salvage our linen closets and give the kitchen some better organization, I think we'll be off to a good start!

How about you?  Anyone else need to tackle the scary that lies behind your closed doors? What's the worst cupboard in your house right now?  You can tell us, we're all friends here :)

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Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Remembering Important Dates To Celebrate

For the past four years, I've made personalized calendars as Christmas gifts for a few of our friends and family.  They are usually full-sized, two-page wall calendars with pictures of their kids/family on the top and all of their family's important dates (birthdays, anniversaries, etc) on the bottom.

This year I ran into some trouble.  The old website I used to purchase the templates from, decided to forgo making them, and I found slim pickin's on other sites.  I did find one package bundle that could work but it had really limited slots for pictures.  I like to include pics of all the birthday guys and gals for any given month, so one picture slot for the 5 birthdays we celebrate in September just wasn't cutting it.

I usually attempt some Photoshoping magic for those situations, but was quickly walking a path to no where but frustrated.  So what did I say to myself?  "Hey self, why don't you just make your own?"  Perfect!

No, not perfect.  That's a lot of work for needing a quick turnaround.  I typically send the calendars after Christmas, so I can include all the sweet photos from the holidays. And we're now well into 2013.

About 5 minutes ago, I sent an email to all my usual calendar receiving peeps, apologized that they wouldn't be getting a full calendar this year, and assured them that they would get something in the mail shortly to help them keep track of all those special dates, until I could get myself together for next year.

I figure if I create one template each month for the next year, I'll have my calendars ready to go by this upcoming Christmas.  But let's not go there now.  I'm having a hard enough time accepting that January is almost a done deal.

So in place of full sized calendars, I created a one page sheet for each family with all their important dates and a few favorite pictures from the past year across the top.  And I made a free printable fill-in-the-blank version for you too.  Merry Belated Christmas!

Do you have a system for keeping track of your family's birthdays and anniversaries?  How do you stay on top of gift giving throughout the year?  I'm vowing to be more on top of the game this year since I made one of these for our office too!

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Monday, January 28, 2013

DIY Infinity Scarf From A T-Shirt

I'm so excited about the "Pinboard to Home" series we're starting this year!  I've had so much fun working on my first pin-inspired project for January (that I'll show you later this week), but I wanted to share another project we tackled for holiday gifts thanks to Pinterest.  Actually taking this idea from one of my Pinterest boards, attempting it myself and loving the result, is one of  the reasons I started the new monthly series!

Here is the photo I pinned:
 DIY no sew polka dot infinity scarf

It's a new-sew polka dot infinity scarf made from a t-shirt.  Awesome!  You can catch the full how-to, which is really simple, by clicking on the source link below the pic.  I just want to share a few things I did a little different and found helpful along the way.

I started by visiting the men's clearance rack at Target.  The larger the t-shirt you use, the longer the scarf, and the more times you can wrap it around your neck.   I grabbed a couple of XXL black and white men's tee's that felt super soft and were a good quality cotton.

The first scarf I did at night (boo for bad lighting), and I went with a black scarf with large gold dots.  After cutting the bottom of the shirt off, I did sew the raw edge using a stretch stitch on my sewing machine before grabbing the paint.

I used some of the Martha Stewart "Golden Pearl" paint that I've been slapping on everything lately.   I didn't measure, just did a totally random pattern.

I placed a paper under the scarf to get a half dot on the edges.

The most useful method I found was to use the ironing board.  I worked on the portion of the scarf that was on top of the board and then carefully rotated the scarf until it was all done.  I left it on the ironing board to dry. 
If you don't use an ironing board, you can simply lay the scarf flat, paint one side and once it's dry, flip it over to do the other side.

In the morning, I liked it enough to make two more.  This time I used some white fabric paint  alone, and then mixed some into the metallic craft paints.  The paint on the first scarf dried a little hard, so you could also add a fabric medium to the paint, so it doesn't dry so stiff.

This scarf was another black one, but this time I did go with a pattern.  Using the very complicated method of eyeballing it, I alternated rows of four dots and five dots with white paint.  I left a few random dot slots open so that I could go back and add another colored dot.

After I finished the white, I went back with a mix of white and Martha's "Vintage Gold" and filled in the blanks with a gold dot.

The difference is subtle but I like it.

The last one was a white scarf and I followed the same steps above, but this time alternated rows of 3 and 4, with a mix of gold and silver dots.

All done and drying!

These are obviously pics with my phone but you can see the length of the black/gold/white scarf here:

And here it is double looped for more of a full/snug fit.

After seeing the dots here, I went back and gave the white dots another coat.  The dark fabric just soaks up the lighter paint color, so either go thick with the first coat or just go back over them a second time.

Either way, it was a totally easy and very inexpensive project!  Now to go back and make one for myself...I'm feeling something fun for spring!

Anyone else busy on a Pinterest project?  I would love to hear what you're up to!

*Linking up to the Pin It - Make It Link Party!

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Friday, January 25, 2013

Easy Furniture Touch Ups

I was so excited to find a new desk chair a few weeks ago that had fantastic fabric, great lines, interesting details and was actually comfortable to sit in for more than 5 minutes!

I was even more excited that it was 33% off, dropping it just under the amount I budgeted for a new chair!  But that price cut was due to a large scratch on one of the back legs that you clearly see upon entering the room.

It was nothing my favorite touch up cheat couldn't fix!  
These wood stain markers come in a pack of three: light, medium, and dark (I think we grabbed them at Home Depot).   We've used them so many times over the past few years and they've helped spruce up dinged pieces of furniture in a snap.

All you do is lightly run the felt tip over the scratch in the direction of the grain.  Then rub with a cloth to remove the excess dye. 

The dye darkens as it dries.  Here it is after the first coat - already a big improvement!

One more coat and we had a pretty good match.

The groove from the scratch is still there but thanks to those handy markers, you hardly notice it.  A small imperfection I can live with for 33% off!

What tricks and quick fixes do you have up your sleeve when it comes to furniture?  Now if only there were a touch up pen for car exteriors....while I love the inner artist in my children, 3 giant scribbles on the car door with a rock isn't my favorite.  Just sayin.  Any tips for that?  You may spare a 3 year old from certain death if you did.

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Thursday, January 24, 2013

A Golden Feather For The Filing Cabinet

Although, we've been sharing a few kitchen/nook projects lately, we are still focusing our main efforts on the office this month. 

I shared my new workspace in our his/hers shared office here.  And now I'm trying to keep my brave girl pants on as I tackle the depths of the closet and our paper piles.  The process of pulling out everything in a room and attempting to purge through it all can be overwhelming, but there is such a great sense of satisfaction and a sigh of relief at the end of it.  I'm trying to keep that in mind as we slowly plow through! 

One of the key players in helping us tame our paper is a file cabinet.  Clever right?  I tossed around a few ideas for unique storage but at the end of the day we had a white file cabinet with ample room for filing papers and added storage for desk/office supplies.  It was the right (and free!) solution.

Of course, I couldn't just leave her alone.  Back here I shared how we first gave her a fresh coat of deep blue paint (spray paint by Valspar: Indigo Blue), and later dressed her up with an unsteady hand-painted peacock feather. 
I liked the feather but didn't love the white paint.  Lately, nothing seems to be safe from my "Golden Pearl" paint from Martha Stewart and this feather was the next victim. 

I used a small art brush to paint right over my white lines with the gold paint.  The white ended up acting like a primer, so that I didn't have to use multiple coats of gold. 

 It's a little lighter than I anticipated but I'm digging the gold much better than the white.

 The cabinet is in it's new spot to the right of my desk (for handy filing).  Now we just need to take care of the top and wall above it - some fun things are in store! 

Here's a look at the Before/After.....



I love it when a small change makes a big difference!  Is anyone else dressing up their standard issue office storage?   Has anyone else gotten the golden fever? 

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Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Nook Updates

Raise your hand if you're tired of seeing this darn nook?  I promise I will give you a reprieve after this post!

The night after I posted about some of the ideas we still have for this space, I went to Joann's for craft supplies.  I wandered over to the fabric section, and behold, their outdoor fabric was on sale!  And I had a coupon!  We knew we wanted something that was a least water-resistant, durable and would clean up easily for the bench cushions.  If you follow along on instagram (freshcoatofpaint) you may have seen a sneak peak of the new fabric we chose:


 I wanted something that would break up all the white and found the perfect small scale brown print with bits of pink and coral.  I'll save the how-to for another post, but here's how the space looks today:
 Obviously, we've moved some things around since the original "reveal"!  When the frames used to hang in a single row, the nails from two of them stuck through the alcove on the other side of the wall.  So, we moved them above the two frames on the other wall to create a grouping of four.  

That opened up an entire wall for something else.  We have a kids art gallery in the dining room but it only has five frames.  The kids still tend to wallpaper the fridge with artwork, so we decided to create another zone to display those little masterpieces!  And since the kids do most of the creating in this space, it's in a super convenient spot.

I simply mounted a few knobs that I had on hand, wrapped some twine around them, and used some colorful paper clips to hang their art.  Those knobs that didn't work out in the office, have found a new home!

Awhile back we also moved the black cabinet next to the table from the side of the fridge.

Several months ago we converted this bookcase to a storage cabinet for the kids' play food and our baking supplies.  It's still working swimmingly and I love the new spot!

I also love that it gives me another place to display some useful and pretty things.

 So, we've gone from this...

To this....

And now this:

Since the new bench fabric brings in yet another pattern and more color, I will probably swap out some of the patterned pillow covers for some solids. I won't be able to call this space totally done until we finish the kitchen but our spaces are constantly evolving, and we like where it's headed!

Do you have a spot that you can't seem to stop tweaking? 

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