Sunday, February 28, 2010

Blog Makeover in the Works!

I'm currently working on some updates, new header, new pages, and other fun stuff. So please ignore the mess and any broken links or other goofy looking stuff while I work on these issues.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

O wonderful Orchids

I posted last year about Home Depot's Garden Club. If you are a not a member, you should be. (And no, I'm not getting paid to say that although if Home Depot wants to send me free stuff, I am a loyal customer, hint, hint.) If you join the Garden Club, they send out wonderful coupons and newsletters every month. Some of these coupons include buy one get one free plants. The latest newsletter included a buy one, get one free housplant. The coupon before that was for a buy one, get one free orchid.

Since the bouquet I bought a few weeks ago was wilting away and spring is still too far away, I went ahead and picked up two of the orchids for $15 total. Right now I have one in the living room and one in my craft room. Doesn't it look just perfect on the mantel? (And more importantly it's mostly out of reach of the pets.)

I'm hoping these things stay alive. I don't have the best track record for plants, but the instructions say to just add three ice cubes a week. I can handle simple directions like that. The tag even gives a link to the website for more tips for people like me who have a black thumb instead of a green one.

I did a little rearranging of mantel accessories to balance everything out with the tall orchid. I just love how elegant the flowers look. Please stay alive pretty, little orchid. I am rooting for you! (Sorry for the bad pun.)

If you aren't a member of the Garden club, head on over the Home Depot website and sign up here.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Decorating Cabinet Tops

My house has really tall ceilings. My kitchen cabinets are not so tall. That leaves quite a large gap of empty space to fill between the tops of the cabinets and the ceiling. I had some blue bottles and vases up there for awhile while I was in my blue and yellow phase. That phase has passed and my cabinets had been looking a bit bare on top since I painted my kitchen walls last year.

I finally got around to adding a little bit of interest up there. I shopped around the house and managed to come up with a couple arrangements all using stuff I had on hand.

I used vases, plates, and other accessories to create the arrangements. The platter shown in the photo below was a $1 Goodwill find that I painted Heirloom White. The jade dishes were from a family member. I think they are antique, I have no idea if they have any value. The white dishes are my everday dishes so I might need to pick up a couple white plates from the dollar store so I can have my regular dishes back for eating!

I'm still tinkering around with different accent pieces and working on an arrangement for the cabinets on the opposite wall. Overall I think it looks a bit prettier up there now than the blank emptiness it was for the past several months. The best part is that it didn't cost me a dime.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Nightstand Makeover Take 2

Wayyyy long ago. Like 6 months ago. Right after I started this blog, this was one of my first projects. I painted our old and beat up nightstand. (Which is really an end table that belonged to my great-grandmother and matches a table that was in Better Homes and Gardens and that is another long story you can read about here.)

The problem was I hated it. The color was not at all what I wanted. Not even close. I was hoping for more of a deep and elegant brown. Not this yucky, mud puddle brown color that I ended up with. On top of the horrible color was that fact that even though I let it sit for several days before I put anything on top of it, stuff kept sticking to the paint. I was so frusterated with it that I just left it like that, sticky paint and all. And hated it for the next six months. Only the cats seemed to like it, but they love anything they climb inside of.

I kept waiting for warmer weather so I could carry this sucker out the garage and attack it with a paintbrush. But winter seems to be stretching on this year with temperatures continuing to hang out below freezing. So I just spread a drop cloth in one corner of the bedroom and started painting. Mr. Delightful is learning not to ask questions.

The color is "Quiet Rain" by Glidden. It's yet another free quart from one of their paint promotions. They have kept me well supplied in paint for the past year. I was afraid it might be too close to the wall color, but I think it contrasts just enough.

I spent all day keeping the cats away while I was painting. After I finished the third coat (covering up that muddy brown was a pain) I left the room for a minute. I came back to find this:

Yes, that is a cat print embedded in my final, smooth coat of paint. And since cats have four legs, guess how many of those little paw prints were left in my perfect  good enough paint finish?

After applying yet another coat to try and cover up all the kitty fingerprints left behind, I decided that it needed a little adornment. So I ended up using my trusty Cricut to cut out a stencil. I ripped off a plastic-like cardboard cover from a travel guide to Gunnison, Colorado that I had laying around. It was the right thickness for a stencil and it was free.

I started out trying to make a pretty swirly outline as shown above. That didn't work out so well so I went the simpler route with just the solid swirl shape. The white paint is some Behr paint that I already had in my paint can stash. It is semi-gloss compared to the eggshell finish of the blue paint which made it stand out even more.

I added the handle back on and put the nightstand back in its corner. But it still looked like it needed just a little something more. So I decided to add a striped border around the edge. I pulled out a roll of painters tape and taped off a border.

Disclaimer: The way I made my border is not at all how your are supposed to do it. This is the lazy way to do it. If you are like me and are always looking for a shortcut and a way to do things that doesn't require hunting in the garage for the proper tools that you can never find unless your husband is around to direct you on where said tools might be hiding, then you might understand. But I don't recommend my method, because I didn't follow the rules and you probably should stick to the rules.

Here's how I shortcutted it. First, I didn't measure anything. No ruler, no pencil, no tape measure. I just sort of eyeballed where the first line of painters tape should go. That is the line closest to the outside. Then I decided to just make my stripe exactly the width of the painters tape. So I used the tape to mark off another line next to the outside box. Finally, I marked off one more box on the inside using the tape. Then I simply removed the middle line of tape, leaving an almostly perfectly marked border to paint my line. That doesn't make much sense when I try to explain it, but maybe a picture will help.

Still confused? Then do it the right way and measure everything out. Here's how mine ended up looking.

I started off painting the box using leftover paint from my kitchen. The color is Glidden's Whispering Wheat. It ended up looking too yellow though. So I pulled out my dark brown paint from our master bathroom makeover. This dark brown paint is actually a mix of Glidden Bittersweet Chocolate and some black Behr paint. I added just a little bit to some of the Whispering Wheat in a small tray and mixed them together. I love mixing paints and I do it whenever the color doesn't turn out to be the shade I want it to be. I guess I could call this shade Chocolate Wheat.

Here's how it finally turned out.

It's hardly perfect. The corners of my border are a bit messy and you can still see the outline from my first stenciling attempt on the drawer front.

But I'm happy with it. It looks so soft and romantic now. If a nightstand can be called romantic.

I added a picture from back when Mr. Delightful Dwelling and I were dating. It's one of those cheesey old time photos taken at Silver Dollar City, but I still love it. My hair was super long back then and I think Mr. Delightful's expression is pretty funny.

I think overall it looks much better than the mud puddle mess it was before. It went from "mud puddle brown" to "quiet rain blue".

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Another Dose of the Crazy Spray Paint Lady

I think my neighbors think we are weird. We try and keep our house and yard all nice and pretty, but we do have some strange habits. Like the fact that I spray paint stuff in my front yard. A lot of stuff. The neighbors that are out walking their dogs just give me some odd looks and continue on by. I once had a Jehovah's Witness try to talk to me while I was perched on a ladder spray painting our exterior lights. I think she thought I was a bit on the strange side too.

Either way, I was so glad the weatherman was wrong this weekend. They predicted snow and temps in the 30s. It was 53 degrees and sunny on Saturday. Prime spray painting weather and I took advantage of it even if the neighbors think I'm not normal.

Remember these gold keys I found at Goodwill? They are no longer gold.

These silver $1 platters are a different color now too.

See the metal art thing over the bed? It's in the middle of its own transformation brought about by the wonders of spray paint.

It's hard to tell in this photo, but the two frames around the paintings were two different shades of white. Now they are both the same Heirloom White color.

I'll have some upcoming posts revealing what these objects look after their new coat of spray paint. Even if it makes me crazy.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Fantastic Fireplaces

I just adore having a fireplace. It is wonderful to be able to enjoy a cozy, roaring fire like this one in our home. I am insisting that if we move, a fireplace is on my "must have" list of things to look for in a house.

However, one of the other great things about a fireplace is that it creates an instant focal point in a room. There is no guessing on what should be the centerpiece of the room. Fireplaces make it easier to decorate even for non-professional-just-trying-to-make-my-home-as-pretty-as-I-can-using-as-little-money-as-possible-people. Like me. Just try to arrange the furniture and decor so that the focus is on the fireplace and mantel and instantly the room looks more put together and balanced. Plus it provides a ready surface for displaying collections, flowers, and seasonal decor. Here are some examples of drool worthy living spaces with a fireplace as the crown jewel of the room. All images are from

I love the round mirror displayed on the mantel in this photo. It looks gorgeous against that wonderful gray paint on the walls.

This fireplace has some amazing tilework around the firebox. Combined with the timeless clock and pop of red on the mantel, it creates a lovely scene. They even show (gasp!) a TV in this room. More like how a real family might utilize the space. Since most real families do have TVs. (We're a little odd in that we only own one TV and hardly watch it.)

I'm not really sure what's up with the couch thing that looks like a bed, but if you ignore the weird furniture, the rest of the room is lovely. The simple arrangement of three pieces of artwork and the tall, elegant candles create the perfect touch for the mantel. I love the rug too, it brings a bit of whimsy to otherwise formal atmosphere of the room.

This is another fireplace that has some amazing tiling. I love how the red wall paint brings out the deep tones of the tile.

This room just made me smile. It's a bit too much pattern for my more simple taste, but I do love the colors and the way it all somehow works together without being too chaotic.

I'm really digging the arrangement of the milk glass all along the top of the mantel in this photo. Again, another interesting use of tile around the firebox to create a lighthouse scene. (Although I'm wondering why they left their worn out shoes in the picture below the table?)

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Another Mini-Blinds into Roman Shade Transformation

After I turned cheap, plastic mini-blinds into a pretty fabric roman shade for our bathroom makeover, I was itching to create another one. Once you make one of these once, they are so easy to do over again.

Here's how my newest roman shade turned out in our laundry room. (Ignore the plastic hangers on the right side of the photo, please! I was having a lazy photographer moment.)

I followed the same basic instructions as before. This one was way quicker and easier to make because it was so much smaller than the huge 47" wide window I had to cover in our master bathroom! I also used thinner fabric. The thinner fabric was good because the fabric glue stuck to it much easier. The downside of that was that the glue actually went all the way through the fabric in a few places and the whole thing was stuck to the carpet underneath! Luckily, it came off without incident although I was freaking out for a minute thinking I had glued the whole thing to the carpet.

This fabric was another clearance find at Joann Fabrics. I'm pretty sure I only paid $2 for a yard of this fabric and I only used half of it so the project by itself cost me all of $1. I love when they have the extra 50% off the red tag fabric at Joanns. That is when I stock up. The blinds were already here when we bought the house so I didn't have to purchase those.

Have I mentioned that I still don't sew? Need to remedy that someday, but that is why that make fabric glue and iron on hemming tape. For people like me that are sewing machine deficient.

I won't reveal the rest of the laundry room, it's still a disaster!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Giving an Ottoman a Little Bling

In the little nook area of my bedroom, I had added this simple, round ottoman from Target. I wanted additional storage as well as something to fill in the space left from when we removed the dresser and TV. However, it was looking a little too plain. It needed a bit of "furniture jewelry" to give it the finishing touch.

Enter nailhead trim. I had never used this before, but I picked up this set at Joann Fabrics using a 50% coupon. It is sooooo easy to work with. You only have to add the tacks every so often to hold the strips of trim on. Much easier than just using only tacks.

I think it took me 10 minutes to add all the trim around the ottoman. When I reached all the way around the top and bottom, it was very easy to just twist the metal trim back and forth until it snapped. No cutting even required.

I think it looks much more sophisticated with the trim to give it that final polish.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Birthday Freebies

My birthday was last week and one great thing about having a birthday is all the free stuff you can get. I'm not just talking about gifts from friends and relatives, but gifts from many restaurants. So I though I'd share the best restaurants with birthday clubs you can sign up for online and get free stuff/coupons. Most places will e-mail you the coupons a week before your birthday and they are good until a week after your birthday, so you have 2 weeks to fill up on free food. After all the eating out we've been doing the past couple weeks, I may need to up my workout routine! (Birthday calories don't really count though, right?

Red Robin-free gourmet burger. They will also sometimes give you a free ice cream sundae when they find out it's your birthday. The Whiskey River BBQ burger is my favorite. Onion straws and barbeque sauce, pure awesomeness.

Houlihan's-free entree. This is a great one because their food is soooo good, but a little pricey. I always get the stuffed chicken that I normally wouldn't pay $16 for, but it's great when it's free!

Noodles and Company- free dish. I love the buttered egg noodles with parmesan chicken. Yum. They also send other coupons out occasionally.

Ruby Tuesday- free burger coupon. They also send out buy one, get one free coupons on a regular basis.

Cold Stone Creamery-free like it sized ice cream + mix in. Good luck choosing a flavor.

Maggie Moos-free ice cream cone. And this is a massive ice cream cone, great for sharing. They also recently sent a coupon for a free milkshake. Also big enough to share. Cheesecake ice cream + snickers = perfect bliss

Sonic - free tator tots, cream slush, or drink

Culver's - free sundae. If you are tired of ice cream by now, this is custard so it's different. Just remember birthday calories don't count.

Fazoli's- free dessert

Chili's - yet another free dessert

Logan's Roadhouse- you guessed it, more free dessert!

Those are the best freebies, here is a loooong list of BIRTHDAY FREEBIES from STLMommy of all the places offering coupons for $$ off, free dessert, free appetizers, or free kid's meals. Happy eating!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Home Goods Goodies

Our nearest Home Goods store is over 30 miles away. I really wish they would open one up closer, because I really enjoy shopping there. They have so many fun things and all at cheap prices. During a recent trip there, I picked up several fun items that I thought I would share.

The first item that ended up in my cart was this pretty little bowl. It was in the clearance section for $3. I can always use decorative bowls to try and contain clutter. I love the intricate design in the center.

My next find was this hanging lantern. The bottom unscrews and can hold a candle. I probably will just set it somewhere as opposed to hanging it. Mr. Delighful Dwelling thought it was weird looking and just didn't get it. I'm sure my blog readers will understand its hidden beauty though. Or am I just crazy for liking it?

One of my favorite finds of the day was this $6 vase. It goes perfectly in my kitchen and looks so pretty holding fresh flowers.

That vase is resting on my final purchase of the day, the table runner. The gorgeous detail of the design and the neutral colors really caught my eye. It is also just plain on the back so I can always flip it over if I decide the pattern looks too busy. Now I just need a crisp, white table underneath instead of my yellowish oak table. I'm keeping my eyes open for one at the local thrift stores for a round table because I think it would look better and work much nicer in the space than the rectangle table I have now.


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