Sunday, January 31, 2010

A $4 Bouquet Goes a Long Way

I love fresh flowers. They just really add the final spark and freshness to a room. They aren't usually in the budget, so I probably only get a couple bouquets a year. I was feeling a little bit of the winter blahs this weekend and too impatient for spring. So I picked up this lovely bouquet at the local discount club for $3.87.

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It was so large that I was able to spread it around to two different rooms. Flowers just make me smile.

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Sometimes $4 can really go a long way. I may have to pick up discount bouquets more often. Or drop more hints to Mr. Delightful Dwelling that pretty flowers = happy wife.

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Thursday, January 28, 2010

My Cat Needs a Shrink

I have two cats. One of them is very inquistive and a bit eccentric, but for the most part a normal cat. Then there is Emma. We aren't sure what exactly happened to her in her previous life because she was a stray. Maybe she was deprived of oxygen at birth or maybe she suffers from abandonment issues from being in a shelter, but either way she is an odd animal.

Her first major issue is her obsession with all things plastic. In fact, she likes to eat plastic and we have to make sure no grocery bags, newpaper sleeves, or ziploc bags are left unattended. She has even consummed an entire Wal-Mart bag and then thrown it back up over the course of a couple days. Even plastic drop cloths aren't safe from her, because she likes to crawl underneath them. Maybe this is where the oxygen deprivation began.

Her latest issue is that she has decided to pull out her fur. She has soft, beautiful fur, but all along her sides, tummy, legs, and tail she has bald spots where she has been pulling out her fur. Apparently, this is common for cats to do when stressed.  Now when she walks she looks like a scrawny rat. You can see her big bald patch on her side.

She did suffer from a recent bladder infection and was on antibiotics. That is the only thing we can figure out would have her remotely stressed. She still eats fine and acts completely normal otherwise. (Or normal for Emma anyway.) I wouldn't think sleeping 16 hours a day and having your meals hand delivered would be a stressful life, but who knows.

Maybe she had too much sun.

Maybe she was mad that we went on vacation without her.

Maybe she needs a chiropractor.

Maybe she doesn't like my taste in shoes.

Maybe she had a run in with the Big, Bad Wolf while dressed as Little Red Riding Hood.

Maybe my dining room chairs bring back flashbacks of living in a cage at the Humane Society.

If there are any cat whisperers out there, please share your advice. If there are no cat whisperers, you can just share your amusing pet stories. I would love to hear them.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

My Dining Room Through the Years

All of the rooms in our house have changed so much since we first moved in almost six years ago. I wanted to do several posts about how each room evolved and how the rooms ended up looking the way they did now. I thought it would be interesting to share how my decorating styles have changed. It also shows how much making your home a cozy sanctuary is a continous process that happens gradually over time.

Here's how our dining room looked with the sellers' stuff in it when we first toured the house. All the previous owners must have had a fear of color, because every single room in our house was the original white paint from when the house was built in 1994.

We spent the first week of home ownership painting like crazy. Here's how our dining room looked for the next few years while I was in my "sage and burgundy" phase.

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I decided that I no longer liked the rug, it was just too dark and busy. I think we only paid around $20 for it at Garden Ridge so it wasn't a big deal to send it packing to Goodwill. I also added a different table runner from Target to change things up a bit.

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Then when last fall came around, I added some mini pumpkins and gourds along with a latern to dress
things up a bit and bring in some color. I also added some pillows the head chairs.

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Next came Thanksgiving. I added some more fall decorations and candles to create a nice tablescape for the brunch we host on the holiday.

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Around the same time, I also switched out the wall art to add paintings created by my brother-in-law and my very own Mr.Delightful Dwelling. You can also see the light fixture we purchased to replace the brass one that came with the house. I also decided it was time to ditch the fake tree from the corner and moved our antique radio into that spot. That allowed me to turn the table at an angle. In this photo, it has the leaf in the middle so it is longer than normal.

When I discovered this mirror at Old Time Pottery, I knew I had a new focal point for this wall. I love how it bounces light around the room by reflecting the light that streams in from the patio doors. And at $29 it was a far cry from the $199 Ballard Designs version. I moved an ottamon from the living room to sit under the mirror and added some pillows to create a small seating area.

Then it was time to break out all the glitter and gorgeousness for Christmas. I added silver painted pinecones, candles, and ornaments for a festive arrangement. Snowflakes dangled from the light and my handcrafted ornament wreath was displayed over the doors to the deck.

Now that Christmas is past, here's how my dining room looks with the $3 table runner I posted about the other day, a vase from Sears, and some silk flowers.

While this room has come a long way from the blank slate we started with, it will continue to change over time and with the seasons. That is part of what makes decorating so fun, you are never done!

Monday, January 25, 2010

My $3 Table Runner

My dining room was all decked out in holiday finery for the Christmas season with sparkling candles, pinecones, and ornaments. Now that all the Christmas decorations were put away, I needed some way to spruce up the table so it was not just a big, boring sea of wood.

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I searched through all the stores, but I just couldn't find a table runner that I liked at a price I wanted to pay. I finally decided that I should just create my own, even though I don't sew a stitch. So I headed to Joanns Fabrics and thanks to the extra 50% discount on red tag fabric, I found a green and white fabric I wanted that was reduced to $6 a yard. I picked up a half yard for three measly dollars.

I layered in on top of the white curtain that I had been using as a table runner. Then I simply hunted my ribbon stash and came up with this black and white strand of ribbon to add the final touch.

Here's a close up of the detail of the fabric. I should probably hem the sides or something at some point. For now I just used a pencil and a yard stick to draw a straight line on both sides and then cut along that line as straight as possible to get a cleaner look on the sides.

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I simply let the ribbon dangle off on the sides. So far that cats have not pulled it off.

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I added a vase I purchased at Sears (I love Land's End's products) and some silk flowers for a sweet and simple arrangement. So far I am loving the look and the price although I may take off the mercury glass candleholders for an even cleaner look.

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Sunday, January 24, 2010

Goodwill Crate & Barrel Find

Remember this goodie I found at Goodwill that had the Crate & Barrel sticker still on it?

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I added some fake snow (it's still winter, right?) to the bottom and stuck a votive holder inside for a simple and easy accent in the living room. I might end up moving it to a different room because the green glass gets a little lost against the green walls, but for now I'm liking it where it is.

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Thursday, January 21, 2010

Trimming Out a Plain Jane Mirror

Part of our master bath makeover involved updating the insanely large builder grade mirror. The edges were starting to get that peely look where they start turning black and it just didn't look very finished. Using some "Mirror Edge" trim found at Lowe's, we gave it a much more custom style.

Were you wondering how we attached the trim? Well, we used this handy-dandy tape gun that was a Christmas gift to me.

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It's called Glue-Glider Pro and can be purchased at Archiver's. It is something that can be used in scrapbooking and other craft projects. There are different types of adhesive refills available and according to the back of the package you can practically build a house using this stuff. I'm not kidding, the package says it can be used to "hold up drywall", "attach crown moulding", and "attach weatherstripping."

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While we had a good chuckle about some of the product's suggestions for use, I do have to say that it did a very nice job holding up our trim to the mirror. Not so sure about hanging drywall or crown moulding with it!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Adding Cabinet Knobs to Vanity

One way we made the original vanity in our master bathroom look more finished and elegant was by simply adding some knobs to the doors. It previously was completely naked when it came to hardware. I picked up these knobs at Home Depot for $1.79 each.

Since my doors didn't have any previous knobs, I had to drill holes for the knobs to be screwed on. You can purchase little plastic guides to use to make sure all your holes for the knobs are in the right place. I'm cheap so I just made my own guide using a scrap of carboard that had a corner. I measured on the door where I wanted my knob to be and then marked that point on the cardboard by lining up the corner of the cardboard when the corner of the door panel. I poked a hole through the cardboard where that mark was.

I then used a pencil poked through the hole to mark on each door where I wanted to drill the hole for the knob.

Then it was as simple as drilling the hole and screwing in the knob. Simple change, big impact. (And yes that is a cat in the window if you look at the reflection. She loves being in photos)

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Target Clearance Finds

If you haven't been to Target lately or if you are like me and try to avoid it because even though you go only for cereal and almonds you end up somehow walking out with five bags of stuff and an empty wallet, you might just want to check out the ends of some of the aisles. Both of the Target stores in my area (yes, I'm blessed with two that are less than 10 minutes away) have several great items drastically reduced. I just happened to have a couple giftcards from Christmas so I picked up several items that I had been eyeing at the store for awhile.

My first find was this charging station. We are not really that into all the little technological gagets, but I did want something to corral all the cords for our cell phones and MP3 players. One Target store had all of these marked down to 50% while the other store had them only reduced 30%. Luckily, I found this at the first Target where they were cheaper.

I didn't have a jewelry box and I was tired of my necklaces ended up all tangled in the tiny round box I had been keeping them in. So when I spied this mirrored box for only $9.98 I snapped it up. They had several different kinds of jewelry boxes in a variety of colors and sizes. Even if you don't need one, this would make a great gift. I'm sure I'll have to clean the fingerprints off the drawers all the time, but who cares when it looks so pretty.

Another great section on clearance were the photo frames. They were reduced 75% off! I bought one for $2.74 and the others for $3.74. I already used one of the frames on the right in our master bathroom.

Besides the items I purchased, they also had many bedding sets and pillows reduced up to 50%. Check out the end of each aisle, that's usually were the bargain goodies are hiding. So if you are wanting any of these items, hurry to Target and see if your store has any great deals.


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