Thursday, February 28, 2013

My latest flash sale purchase

Let's talk about flash sale sites. I am kind of obsessed. What about you? I can't wait for 11 a.m. when I get an email telling me all about the new sales for the day. I scramble over to my favorite sites like One Kings Lane, Fab, Joss & Main and Beyond the Rack to see what latest eye candy they are offering, usually at huge discounts.

I have purchased all sorts of things from these sites, like two indoor/outdoor rugs, an outdoor tabletop fireplace, a fabulous pair of Born boots and more. They're really pretty dangerous for my credit card. Kind of like walking into a TJMaxx, Marshall's or Target, but instead with flash sale sites, I can browse from the comfort of my office chair (shhh, don't tell my boss!) and not deal with parking and stuff.

So my latest purchase was a bit of a splurge, but still totally worth it. I have been looking for a new shower curtain for the master bathroom. Since moving into the house nearly four years ago, I've had the same white, waffle-textured shower curtain I picked up for a bargain at Target. It's served me well, but with the walls now mostly white, I wanted to add a shower curtain with some pop. And wouldn't you know, as soon as I decided I wanted a new shower curtain, a flash sale pops up at One Kings Lane with pretty much exactly what I was looking for. Oh hey there sexy shower curtain!

Purchased via here
Now this was discounted to $59 from $89, plus $9.99 for shipping. Even with the discounted price, its still too expensive for me even though it's got all the right colors, tons of pop and would even make my fiance happy with the surfing scene. So I moved on, trying to find another shower curtain more in my price range.

But then fate stepped in. The next day I received an email with a special code for 30% off any purchase through the end of the month. It took me about 3.5 seconds to remember the curtain I loved and jump on the site to buy it before the sale ended. I ended up scoring this baby for $49.99 including the shipping and handling!

I am so excited for it to arrive and I can't wait to surprise my fiance with it. He kind of thinks my decorating is a little too girly for him or as he puts it "not my taste." Hopefully, he'll think differently after this is hanging in our bathroom! At least I'm making the effort to blend our styles a bit — more beachy and surfer, less horses and flowers. Although, I did point out to him that his apartment hasn't had anything on the plain beige walls for two years now! Me, I like to live in color, so hopefully I can bring him closer to my side of the decorating spectrum!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Outdoor Sectional Plans

Isn't it funny how certain scents can put you in a good mood? I was walking up to my building at work earlier and they had just mulched the plant beds out front. Hmmmm ... I love the smell of fresh mulch. Instantly, I was perked up and feeling good. But I was also yearning for spring, which is still a few weeks out here in Norfolk. Sure, the daffodils are already blooming, but we are still in for a few more weeks of almost freezing nights and not quite warm enough days. But it got me thinking about my plans for the yard this year.

During the fall I decided to get rid of the small patio I had made using pavers. I also got rid of the table, chairs and umbrella that used to sit on that patio. Instead, I decided I was going to build a sectional in that space in my back yard. I had visions of comfy cushions, squishy pillows and a fire pit. Kind of like this, minus the snow:

via this blog

But what I really ended up with is this:

Just a bunch of cinder blocks and pallets waiting to be put to use. And so they still sit like this to this day. I did do a lot of the leg work already, like transplanting three bushes to the front of the house planting bed, and of course carrying all these cinder blocks and pallets back here. I still need to level it off a bit and get to work building. Here was my original pinspiration:

via Better Homes & Gardens

I tried a few configurations, like this two-sided sectional:

But what I like most is a horseshoe shape. The one side would be along the shed, the other long side would be up against the fence and then the last short side would come out from where the bushes are and border up next to the paver pathway coming from the back door of the house. 

After realizing how many cinder blocks I would actually need to accomplish a horseshoe sectional, I decided that the base would not be solid cinder block after all. Way too costly and heavy. As it is, I already had to buy 72 cinder blocks which I also had to unload all by myself. Instead, each of the four corners will have a square cinder block base and I'll probably have to use one in the middle of the long backside, too. I also decided to skip the pallets and instead use thick, pre-treated plywood for the benches and then do another row of cinder blocks on top on the corners. Kind of like the corners in this (except without the solid cinder block base beneath like I said before):

via this pin
So as you can see I have my work cut out for me. Once I get this sucker built, I also plan to paint the cinder blocks black so that the mulch doesn't kick up on them and make them look dirty. I will then paint the plywood white and plan to sew cushions and pillows (once I learn how to sew) in a nice outdoor fabric. Hope to have all this done by the time my family visits at the end of April. I will of course keep you updated! Wish me luck!

Monday, February 25, 2013

Board and Batten in the Bathroom

Happy Monday! I am still putting the finishing touches on the master bathroom redo, but I just couldn't wait to share the pictures!

Last weekend I finally took the plunge and installed board and batten in my bathroom. Since I moved into my house I've been dying to add some more character by way of bead board or board and batten. I always thought it would be in my dining room, the hallway outside of the laundry/pantry area or even in the guest bathroom. But when I started to notice how dingy and dirty the walls of my master bathroom were getting, I knew it was time to do something.

You see, my builder had his painters use flat paint all over the house. And me, not knowing any better at the time, didn't think anything of it. But as the years have gone by, the walls are looking terribly stained and with flat paint, you really can't clean them off. My master bathroom seemed to be the worst because its used so much. There was soap scum on the walls near the tub and sink. There's hairspray and lotion residue near the mirror. It just needed a good freshening up and unfortunately, it was nothing that a good bathroom cleaner could fix.

So I decided that since I had to paint the walls anyways, I might as well add some architectural elements to the tiny room. So, what do you think?

Pinspiration via here and here

Pretty, right! Okay, so how did I create this board and batten look? Well, first I started with a trip to Lowe's. I purchased:
  • a gallon of the Valspar Ultra Paint + Primer in one. I just used the straight off the shelf semi-gloss white. This way the walls would be much easier to wipe down and keep clean.
  • 20, 8 foot lattice pieces that I used for both the horizontal and vertical boards.  I have a few boards left over.
  • a tiny hand saw for about $12. Since the wood was so light, I didn't need any fancy, or expensive saws to get the pieces cut. Phew! 
  • paintable caulk, which is the best invention ever. Messy, but totally makes your job look professional in the end.
What else I used:
  • a yardstick for easy measuring
  • a pencil
  • a level
  • brad nails so that the heads could be hammered into the wood
  • a hammer
  • an angled paint brush
  • a mini-paint roller and tray
  • drop cloth
  • painter's tape

From some of the pinspirational pins I came across, a lot of people started with painted or at least primed boards for their horizontal pieces. I did not. I relied on tape later on. But like those other DIYers, I did start with the horizontal rail around the top. I used the same lattice pieces for the whole project. I have seen some people use a bit thicker and wider board for the horizontal pieces, but this just worked easier for me so I could use the small hand saw.

To figure out how high I wanted the board and batten, I used the top of the tub surround as my guide. This way, I think the tub looks more built in and less cheap and builder grade. It sort of just blends in with the rest of the white. Once I had my horizontal pieces measured out and level, I secured them to the wall using the brad nails and a hammer. I thought about using wood glue, too, but in the end decided the lattice was light enough and the nails would suffice.

Once the top portion was secured to the wall, I then had to figure out the spacing for the vertical boards. Because I was working with several short walls and around the toilet, sink and outlets, none of the walls ended up having the same spacing between the boards. They range from about 13 inches in between to about 15 inches. Its very hard to tell with the naked eye and it just made my life so much easier then to be less precise. It actually looks better and more even in the end since there are no weird breaks, if that makes sense.

With the spacing figured out, I then measured each of my vertical boards and cut them to the right length. However, if all of your horizontal boards are level, the vertical boards should all be the same length, which they pretty much were, but you never know with some houses and how they've settled, etc. 

The next day I taped off the room and added a coat of paint. At that point you really see the gaps between the wall and some of the wood pieces since none of the wood is perfectly straight. Once the paint was dried (I gave it 24 hours) I then went around the room and caulked all the gaps using the tube of caulk I purchased and my fingers. This part was so messy, but so worth it in the end. I could have painted over the caulk in about 40 minutes, but I let it dry another day, mainly because of my own lack of time.  I then applied the last coat of paint the following day.

You'll notice from the pictures that I left about two feet at the top of the room the original turquoise color. I love that it still has the pop of bright color, but is nice and clean around the majority of the room. Luckily, the top part that I did leave turquoise was not dirty at all to begin with.

Like I said, I am still adding details, and I can't wait to do a full reveal once I get a new shower curtain, sew up the curtain over the window and add some more artwork.

The whole process was relatively easy, and I would totally do it all again. In fact, I still have plans to tackle the wall out of the laundry/pantry downstairs. I even have leftover lattice and paint that I plan to use. I just have to find the time. What else is new!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Over the door shelf

A clever way to utilize some wasted space, either for extra storage or to use as a display area, is to put a shelf above a doorway. On Pinterest, I've seen people put them in the bathroom, above the door, to stash extra towels or baskets full of toiletries and such. I've also seen them in other parts of the house, too, which got me thinking about where I could put one.

I decided on the doorway between the living room and dining room. It's a very prominent place, as you see that doorway as soon as you walk into the house. So what do you think?

The Pinspiration on the left via This Old House, and my project on the right!
Here it is up close.
And here you can see it in relation to the living room and on through to the kitchen/dining room.
I was going to make my own shelf, but when all was said and done, I was able to buy a ready made and painted shelf at Lowe's for pretty cheap, maybe $30. It already came with the shelf itself, the brackets and all of the hardware and all I had to do was drill some holes and put it up.

I don't think it is drilled into studs per say, but I think I ended up drilling into the frame around the door. After doing all the proper measuring, it took a lot of muscle to get those holes drilled and that bad boy up, but I think it looks great!

I styled it with just one of the many horse heads I have around the house. I definitely have a problem buying too many horse heads! This one is from Target I pinned awhile back. It was just $24.99. Not sure if they still sell it or not.

The flask with the jockey and the horse head cork on top was a lucky find for $9.99 at a thrift shop. It's shaped like a horseshoe and has many of the popular race tracks written on it. Such a cool piece and I especially love it because my horse Ellie was a racehorse many years ago. 

The "Welcome" sign in the middle is actually nailed to the wall and is not leaning on the shelf itself. This sign is made of real horseshoes. I saw it on Pinterest awhile back and my mom ended up buying it for me as a surprise! I love it so much and this is a great place to show it off!

In the end this shelf was such an easy project that makes a big statement! I might just go ahead and add one to my master bath I am in the process of redoing. That reveal will come soon, I promise!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

DIY horse show ribbon rack

As I've mentioned before, I am a horseback rider. Although, more recently I'm much more of a groom and bill payer as I haven't ridden my horse Ellie in months. Blame it on the cold and the mud and the fact that my mare gets a little crazy in the winter. I think she is quite enjoying her time off as a pasture ornament. I call her Bob Marley as her mane is starting to dread over a bit. Whoops!

Here she is in all her hairy buffalo glory...

Don't judge me!
 And here she is for real...

The girl cleans up well!
Anyway, back to my post. Ah yes, my DIY horse show ribbon rack. You see that snazzy ribbon in the clean version picture above? Well, Ellie and I won a few nice awards and ribbons in 2011 and I wanted to be able to showcase them in my home instead of relegating them to the closet in a bag, or worse yet, the garbage can!

Awhile back I was browsing one of my favorite tack shops online and came across this, which I promptly pinned, of course!

Bevel Ribbon Board
 The original price on it was $105 (its now on sale for $84), but I thought I could make my own version for a lot cheaper. And so I did! What do you think?

Obviously, mine's a little different than theirs. I had good intentions of making one very similar, and even purchased the rest of the pieces I'd need to make it, but in the end, this one is what suited my needs right now. I think if Ellie and I do end up showing this season and we win more awards, I'll make the version with the space to add more ribbons.

The whole process was really simple. I purchased the plaque ready made in that shape at Michael's. At the time, they didn't have any other plaque options, but since then I've seen plenty of other shapes and sizes at Michael's and at Walmart.

I then had some pine boards and lattice cut down for the other pieces and purchased brass chain link and eye hooks to attach them together, but like I said, I didn't go that route. Instead I just used one of the small lattice pieces. Then I stained both using some leftover stain from my latest dresser project.  It was Minwax Wood Stain in Dark Walnut.

To give the rack some space to actually hang the ribbons on, I used spacers between the lattice and plaque, then used some fancy screws to secure the lattice to the plaque.

I already had Ellie's nameplate that I don't use at the current barn. I attached it using velcro so that it can easily be changed out with another nameplate should I get another horse in the future. Yes, fiance, there are more horses in our future. Consider this your warning!

I love the way it turned out. I can even see these being used at an away horse show as both a nameplate to identify the horse in the stall and also as a spot to show off your winnings! I definitely have plans to make a few more versions in the future and maybe even sell them on my consignment shop site, Second Course Consignments.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Taking the plunge

I'm doing it. I am officially starting a little side business of re-imagining furniture. I even came up with a business name and a logo. What do you think?

I'm calling this little venture re. As in, you guessed it, re-imagining, re-homing, re-designing furniture to sell. My goal is (and I guess if I declare it here on the web, it kind of holds me accountable for at least trying to achieve it) is to eventually have my own store front where I sell the pieces I've re-created, teach classes on re-finishing furniture and even become a stockist for Annie Sloan Chalk Paint. Phew! Scary to lay it all out there, but I am very excited about all of the possibilities.

I've been doing a lot of research since I fell in love with using Chalk Paint, and I've been scouring some of the websites and blogs of women who are already stockists. They do such wonderful work and seem to really enjoy what they are doing. I would love to do that, too!

But baby steps first, I know. I have to remind myself that. A lot. So I started searching Craigslist and some of my local thrift stores to buy a few pieces that, for the first time, wouldn't be for me and my home. I lucked out and scored two adorable little benches that I am dying to re-upholster, paint and add some amazing details to. I also picked up a small coffee table. I am totally turning to Pinterest for all of my Pinspiration! I even started a new board to stash all my ideas.

I can't wait to share these projects with you and also see if I can actually make a go of this and sell them!

Of course, I'll continue to keep updating and redoing things around my house. I still have a few projects to share with you that are already complete and I still need to tackle my fiance's dresser and nightstand in the guest room and the board and batten in the master bathroom. Fun stuff!

And then before you know it, it'll be warm again and its off to the great outdoors for some fun projects to spruce up the yard.

Lots to look forward to! Stay tuned...

Friday, February 1, 2013

Living Room Update

Just dropping in real quick before I share another small project I completed. I recently updated the living room. Yay! You can see previous posts here and here, where I mention the new canvas art I scored and the TV dresser I refinished.

I know I've mentioned before that I needed a new couch. The old sectional was yet another causality of my dog Franklin. Between his drool spots, hair, tears from his claws and mud that he managed to track in and deposit all over the couch, it was definitely time for a new one. The old sectional was tan micofiber as you can see below:

My old nasty couch which I somehow sold for $250 on Craigslist!
I came across this pin on Pinterest that I followed the steps for to try and remove some of the stains, but I think my couch was too far of a goner at that point. But I think for some minor stains, it might just work, so in case you want to try yourself, here's the link from 551 East.

We knew we wanted something that wouldn't show dog hair, couldn't be punctured by his nails and wouldn't show stains. Though we promised each other we would not let the dog on the new couch, you just never know what he does when we're at work. We couldn't afford leather, which through research I did, proves to be the best choice for people with dogs. What we ended up with instead was a high quality bonded leather. It looks just like leather and feels just like it, too. I'll have to let you know how it holds up over the years, but so far, so good. We got it at our local Value City Furniture, which is where I got a lot of the furniture in my house, like the old couch and ottoman, the dining room set and my master bedroom, because they have great financing plans. It's called the Silverton sectional.

Here's the new setup:

I was afraid the dark brown leather couch would make the room too dark, but I actually think it brightens the space since the old couch was so dingy looking. We also opted for the horseshoe layout, which I love. It too opens the space up, I think.
The color of the couch is really pretty. I know it looks almost black, but its actually more a saddle brown with subtle variations in the colors throughout the leather and then has a tan colored seam throughout. 

The couch is seriously huge! We had to relocate the 50 gallon fish tank I had set up to the right of the old couch. That's now in the dining room. We were left with about a foot of space on the right side behind the chaise. I threw together my own DIY console table, which I will blog about soon.

Since the couch was so big, the old 5 x 7 foot rug was not going to cut it. Darn! I really liked that one, too. Oh well. Since we'd already spent so much on the couch, a real expensive rug was not in the budget. I was trying to stay under $200. Franklin has a history of ruining the rugs in this room in various ways - peeing, eating, staining, etc. So yeah, given that this new rug is actually rug #5 in 3.5 years in here, cheap was the way to go.

After searching online at then at Target, Pier 1, TJMaxx, Marshalls and Walmart in person, I finally landed on a perfect solution at Garden Ridge. The beauty in the picture was only $59.99! I know, crazy good deal that made it worth it dig through huge, heavy stacks of rugs they pile up in their gigantic warehouse like stores. It's not the plushest rug in the world, but it doesn't look cheap either. It's a 7 x 10 foot rug in a real pretty shade of turquoisey-blue, so it totally fits in with all of the other blues in the space.

I rearranged some other accessories and am reusing the old ottoman that matched the old couch, for now at least. I've been hunting on Craigslist and in thrift stores for a cheap alternative to refinish of course.

I love coming home now to this new set up. The couch is super comfortable and I actually like hanging out in the living room, where before it just always felt dirty and nasty.