Lullaby and Goodnight

I am soooo excited to announce that my husband and I are expecting a sweet baby girl in October! ūüôā Only 6 weeks to go and we are counting down the days until we finally get to meet her. We’re finally finished with the nursery. It’s been¬†a lot of fun and I wanted to share it with y’all!

The rest of my house is more neutral with bold, earthy tones, so doing a bright pastel type baby room was WAY different than what I’m used to. It was really fun to get to play with a new color palette.

Being the crazy person that I am, I wanted to get started on the room ASAP.¬†I didn’t even wait to find out if it was a boy or a girl before I chose the paint and put in on the wall. I¬†decided that a turquoise wall color would be perfect and I could make that fit either gender. The color is Clark & Kensington – Bon Voyage. We knocked it out one Saturday with the windows open. It was cooler outside then, so it was nice! I’m glad we didn’t wait until August to do it.

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Next, I knew I did not want a normal changing table. I had seen where many people: friends, fellow Pinterest-ers, etc. turned dressers into changing tables and I LOVED that idea. It seems way more functional for storage. I hunted for weeks for a dresser and finally found one at the Habitat for Humanity Re-Store down the street from my house for $50! I knew it had potential, so I loaded it up and brought it home.

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We sanded it all down and cleaned it up. We had some leftover mustard paint from when we did our master bathroom. So, we decided that would be a fun (and FREE) color to paint the changing table. Especially since it could go with a girl or a boy room.

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We tried to clean the existing hardware really nicely. My husband had a great idea to soak them in this special acid to really make them shine. It was working great at first…and then the acid decided to eat away the handles. The hanging part of the handle was no longer attached to each piece of hardware. It looked like we were going to have to buy some new drawer pulls. Bummer. The downside to that was, when I was sanding, I did not sand the drawers deep enough – so the outline of the old handle was still very noticeable. I figured it did not matter since the same hardware was going back on. Only not. Oops. That’s when we got creative. There was no way I was re-sanding and repainting everything we had already done. I decided to use the back piece of the hardware and then mount new drawer pulls (pictured below) in the center – layered on top.

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I really loved the way it turned out! The mess up with the handles actually made it that much better. It gave it a lot more character. The downside was that we had to throw an additional $50 in drawer pulls into the project. However, where could you buy a dresser like this for $100? Still a deal.

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My parents offered to buy us a crib, so that was my next task. I searched online and had a really hard time finding one that I liked that wasn’t OUTRAGEOUS. I did not want one of the cribs that were higher in the back than the front. I wanted a simple crib with a little flare. I finally found this one¬†online from Target. Love it! (Thanks Mom and Tommy)

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I read online about bumpers and all the unnecessary extra crib bedding that can lead to SIDS, so I am just going with a fitted sheet and a dust ruffle/crib skirt. I may add the rail covers down the road…and perhaps a mesh bumper if little hands & feet start slipping through cracks…but nothing else right now.

This is pretty much where we stopped until we found out the gender. Colors so far: turquoise, mustard, and…..If it was a boy, my 3rd color was going to be red. If it was a girl, it was going to be coral. So, I had to wait until after my 18 week ultrasound appointment to find out what we were having before I could continue.

AND…WE’RE HAVING….A GIRL! Coral it is! I could finally¬†start shopping again. ūüėČ

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As far as artwork above the crib goes, I was nervous about putting anything up that wasn’t securely fastened to studs in the wall. I opted for one large piece of wood that I “white washed” and wrote her name. This allowed me to drill lots and lots of holes into multiple studs throughout the entire piece of wood. A sumo wrestler can hang from that thing and it’s not coming out of the wall (hopefully). My friend gave me some old wooden chargers that¬†she was throwing away. I decided that they might make cute “button” artwork, so I transformed those by painting them different colors in the palette. Then, I drilled four holes in the center of each, and threaded them to look like buttons. They are also drilled into studs on the wall. Side note: I found the crib skirt on Amazon, and the crib sheet online at Babies ‘R’ Us.

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When we started Whitley’s nursery I was hell bent on not having some generic “Winnie The Pooh,” “Princess,” or any other character themed room of any kind. It’s just not my style. I wanted it to be eclectic and the theme to be a color scheme rather than a *thing*. So, I stuck with the turquoise, mustard, coral scheme as much as possible.

For the area above the changing table, I decided I wanted to do a wall collage. I scored a plastique mirror at an auction for $1.50 and I found some cute 12 x 12 artwork at the At Home store for really cheap. My mom had saved some pictures from my room as a child that we re-framed and matted them to go with the colors.

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I found some coral colored blackout curtains on Amazon. I thought I could get away with one panel on each window with a tieback, but it still let in a lot of light. I was told by friends that I would want a second panel on each window to block out as much light and noise as possible. So, I followed their direction and ordered 2 more panels (even though I like the look of one on each window better) and 2 more tiebacks. P.S. The rocking horse pictured below was mine when I was a child – still in great condition. ūüôā

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My husband’s parents said they wanted to get us our rocker/glider, so we were on the prowl for months. I never knew they were so expensive! All the ones I looked at and really liked were upwards of $700 with the ottoman. That’s just crazy talk. I found a bunch that I liked, but I couldn’t bring myself to order them – especially without being able to sit in them first! Not to mention, I’m 5’10” and my husband is 6’4″ – it’s hard to find a chair that fits us correctly to begin with. I wouldn’t want to order one online just for it to get here and I can’t lay my head back on it… We went to Babies ‘R’ Us, Haverty’s, Rooms To Go, Baby Bloomers, EVERYWHERE! At least that’s what it seemed like.¬†¬†We didn’t see any that we were 100% in love with.

A friend mentioned that if she ever had to go back and buy a rocker/glider again, she would just go get a La-Z-Boy.¬†I was like LA-Z-BOY?! Genius! Why did we not think of that!? We went into their showroom, sat in a few different chairs, and found one that we loved. It fit us both nicely, and it was neutral (sort of a grey/brown) so it can be used in our living room after Whitley is no longer a baby! Plus it has a warranty that includes coverage for spills, bodily fluids, etc. (hello, baby) – so that gives us a nice peace of mind. I picked up a throw pillow to soften it up…and Voila! Perfection. The side table¬†is from Amazon (Thanks Sheila), and the lamp and rug are from At Home.

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Next, we built some bookshelves. We saw an idea for really simple ones on Pinterest¬†and went with that basic concept. We altered the measurements a bit to fit our space and the wood we had on hand. They turned out to be one of my favorite things in the room. I scored the artwork from At Home, again, on the clearance rack for $15 – framed! It has a bunch of nursery rhyme characters, so I thought it was fitting for the reading area. ūüôā

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After we had our first shower, we realized just how many blankets we are probably going to have for Miss Whit – and blankets take up room! So, I found a simple plan for a blanket ladder on Pinterest. I thought it would be the perfect storage solution AND they would be easily one-armed accessible for those late night feedings.

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Only one awkward wall left to deal with! We needed a place to put stuffed animals, etc. I picked up some simple shelves from Michael’s¬†& painted them white and found a cool looking metal “W”. I also got some cheap canvas pictures from Ross.

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It was all coming together! ūüôā All I needed was some bow/headband storage and some storage for all the diaper changing necessities. I used a pie rack for the diaper changing must haves, and I made a headband/bow holder out of clothespins and some old wood.

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The closet is still a work-in-progress. I have decided to not even mess with that again until all the showers are over. We sure do appreciate all the goodies, though! ūüôā

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Here are¬†some pictures of the nursery from a few different angles. We had a really great time putting it all together little by little. We hope you all enjoy taking a peek into Whitley’s room and we hope she loves it, too! ūüôā

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We’re so excited that it is finished. Now we can sit back, relax, and enjoy the last few weeks of pregnancy without running around like crazy people trying to finish things.¬†Now I can just focus on psychotically nesting and cleaning for a little while. ūüėÄ

A Closet Case

One of the selling points for me in our house was the closet in the master bedroom. It had a window! A window in a closet!? Sold. And there was so much space! Which meant more room for us to throw stuff places, basically.

I dreamt of having one of those amazing custom closets where everything had its place, but figured that would never happen unless I won the lottery. So, I was perfectly fine with the way the closet was. Here it is below in it’s horrible cluttered manner.

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Sure, it was huge and it had a window, but it was kind of a disaster at all times. We just learned to shut the door.

My husband decided that he wanted to take on this project himself. I can’t say that I was fully on board with it; I had other things I wanted to do around the house first. However, I’m glad he did it, because I love it now.

He started by building a shelving unit that would house his folded shirts and have hanging space for pants in the bottom.

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In the meantime, my job was to take EVERYTHING out of the closet and throw it in the guest room. You never realize just how much stuff is packed into a closet until you start unleashing it. Wow. I had the joy of digging through clothes on the guest bed everyday before work instead of strolling into my closet to pick out an outfit…

Anyway, after he was done building the first piece, I stained it, and we brought it upstairs to see how it worked in the closet.

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I was still hesitant, but he insisted that it would be great. He said he could already visualize it. All I could visualize was the fact that it was going to take forever at the rate we were going and I would have to live out of the guest room for months. But that was just me being a Debbie downer in my head. I smiled and went along with it.

Before we went any further, we disassembled all the wire shelving and patched the holes in the walls. We also decided to paint the walls a color that matched the master bathroom. (Our room color scheme is mostly yellow and brown)

After that was finished, we proceeded with building the rest of the units that would make up the closet. We drew a plan: two corner units with doors, an area for hanging dresses, an area for folded shirts & pants, and plenty of overhead storage space. First on the list were the corner units.

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We then attached all of the units firmly to studs in the walls and ran a metal bar between the two corner units.

His side:
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My side:
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Then we added another metal bar above the first one, and hung some clothes up to make sure the spacing worked between the two.

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It stayed this way for a few weeks because this was proving to be a lot more work than we first anticipated. It was a lot of building and staining. We were losing steam. It was put together enough for most of my clothes to be hung back up, so it was less of a big deal to me. The outlook I had on the closet was not so good, though. I was beginning to think that it looked like a hot mess and it was better the other way…

After a break, we acquired some more steam to finish the project. It was time to add doors to the open corner units. Originally I wanted mirrors on the door fronts. After holding one up, I realized all it did was reflect clothes and make it look more cluttered. So, we opted against it.

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All we needed to do now was add the hanging unit for my dresses, and a top shelf for storage above the hanging clothes.

We went to visit the in-laws during this process and they were getting rid of a bunch of shelves they used to use in their bedroom. We took them and used them for boot storage in the closet. I even had room to put my grandmother’s vanity in there instead of in the bedroom itself. It was all working out better than I had hoped for.

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Of course, it is still going to look a bit cluttered. It is a closet after all. However, I will say it is a lot more functionally cluttered than it was before, thanks to the hub.

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Everything has its place. No more searching through bins of boots to find a matching pair. No more getting frustrated with clothes piled on the floor. Sure, there are little things we would change about it – things that felt rushed and not quite done “right,” but that’s how we feel with everything. There’s always something we learned in the process that we know to do or not to do next time. We are always looking to better things.

In the end, it may not be one of those crazy expensive custom closets, but it works for us! We’re happy. ūüôā

Fancy and Flowered

I bought an old chandelier from a thrift store with the intention of using it in my closet when we remodeled it. However, the chandelier was way too large for the height of the ceiling, so it ended up sitting in the garage unused.

One day I decided that it was in my way and I needed to find something to do with it. I found many uses for it online: bird feeder, dessert stand, and many others. But, there was one that really struck me – a hanging planter.

I immediately thought of my mother. My Mom loves flowers. She always has the prettiest yard every summer. She takes pride in it and enjoys doing it. And Mother’s Day was right around the corner. Perfect gift!

I went to Wal-Mart and got some yellow Rustoleum spray paint and some plastic pots that matched.

My husband removed all of the lighting hardware so I had a flat surface to mount the pots onto. I used hot glue to adhere the pots to the chandelier. Using the same method as my previous chandelier re-do, I hung it from a tree to spray it.

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(Unfortunately, I didn’t take any pre-painted pictures, for some reason.)

Once it dried, it was looking pretty good! There was only one problem…

The hot glue was not a great choice. It blended in well before I sprayed, but it stuck out like a sore thumb once the paint hit it. It looked messy, and that was not what I was going for. I wanted the pots to look like they came on the chandelier, like they were meant to be there – not an added afterthought. I opted to cover up the glue markings with some ribbon around the base of each pot and added a little ribbon toward the top of the fixture to tie it together. I didn’t want to do that, but at this point, it was my only choice.

I picked up some plants at the local Ace Hardware and filled each of the 6 pots. It looked something like this when it was finished. Mom loved it.

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If you were to try to do this project on your own, here are some things I learned:
1. Get terracotta pots, not plastic. I chose plastic for weight purposes, but I don’t think they look as good.
2. Drill holes in the base of the pot and the underside of the chandelier for drainage, perhaps?
3. Do not use hot glue; I’m not sure how well it will hold up in the sun for long periods of time.
4. Glue the pots on after you spray them and the chandelier. This will ensure that the adhesive you use will remain clear.
5. As a bonus, you could always add some jewels and whatnot to fancy it up! They look pretty in the sunlight!

Other than that, the project is pretty easy. It looks really good hanging from a tree over an outdoor seating area as well. The whole project cost was only about $40.

Masterfully Re-Decorated

When I picture a Master Bedroom, I picture an elegant, relaxing oasis that makes you feel secluded from your crazy world. It should be inviting and romantic. It shouldn’t feel cramped and cluttered.

When we first moved in, I purchased a new comforter and we painted the walls of our Master Bedroom. That was basically it. I gathered pillows and furniture I already had, and stuffed it in the room. Being that I only rented before this, nothing ever felt “permanent” and I didn’t care enough to make it feel that way in a place that wasn’t “mine.” But, this was OUR house, and I wanted to make it feel that way. I wanted it to reflect our style and who we are.

I got tired of looking at the set up below. It was not terrible, it was alright, but “alright” is not how I wanted my master bedroom. Time to get crackin’.

Master before

So, I started using my drug of choice (Pinterest) and pinned inspirational ideas for the room. I discovered that I loved the look of over-sized mirrors above the side tables, I wanted the side tables to match, and the wall above the bed just looked boring, so it needed some uplifting.

For the mirrors, I looked EVERYWHERE for a deal. I searched & searched and it seemed like I was not EVER going to find large mirrors in my price range, much less matching ones. I found some decently priced mirrors on Amazon.com, but when I received them, they were MUCH smaller than I figured they would be…maybe the size of a standard piece of printer paper. It wasn’t working for above nightstands. It wasn’t the WOW factor for which I was looking. So, back to the drawing board.

I gave them a place within a grouping above a new seating area in the bedroom between two windows. In the grouping was a photograph as well as a copy of the reading a friend of ours read during our wedding ceremony. I also found a piece of ironwork at Kirkland’s that was intended to be used for above a bed, but I thought it fit nicely above the seating area. It was my lucky day, because when I walked into Kirkland’s they happened to be having a sale on that item for one day only. I scored it for $20.

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I came across an old sewing table in my thrifting that no longer housed a sewing machine. They only wanted $20 for it, so I picked it up in hopes of using it somewhere in my redecorating.

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The hub added a shelf to the bottom, I sprayed it with black paint, and painted the top a mustard yellow to match our comforter.

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I also had a nightstand that was a similar height to the sewing table, it just needed some TLC. The finish on the top was poor quality. I spilled an ICEE on it once years ago, cleaned it up quickly, and it still made the finish peel up and flake off. So, we sanded the top and I painted it the same mustard color to match the other table.

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At the same time I found the sewing table, I spotted two matching lamps that were $6 each including the shade. I spray painted the gold base oil rubbed bronze, and added a raffia bow & some burlap trim to the shade to add interest.

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When I was browsing Pinterest, I saw where people would hang curtains from a curtain rod behind the bed, and I really liked the effect it had on the room. It created a since of softness and comfort. So, I imitated it with some extra sheers I had. I affixed some cup hooks to the wall at the desired tie-back height, and used old faux pearl necklaces as tie-backs. I then hung some artwork in the opening of the curtains with a sign I painted that said “Loved you yesterday, Love you Still, Always Have, Always Will” to add to the romantic feel.

I loved that it was all slowly coming together.

Still on the hunt for mirrors, I was getting very frustrated. I kept visiting the local Habitat for Humanity Restore once a week for at least a month crossing my fingers for new arrivals. The frequenting paid off, when outside the front door was a stack of about 12 matching large mirrors! If I was at all agile, I might have done a back flip at that moment. And they were only $25 each! Talk about a steal!

I would say that below is the “finished product,” but the product is never finished. I take away and add to quite often. So, I will just say this is what it looks like for now. Not a crazy transformation, but it does give us the sense of relaxation and it amped up the wow factor for us quite a bit from where it was before.

We LOVE the mirrors. Not only does it make the room look larger and feel more regal, but the light from the lamps bounces off of them and reflects beautifully. It adds a great sense of ambiance and makes the room feel a lot more masterful.

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Wed and Weathered: Romantically Rustic

When I was thinking of a theme for my wedding, it was an obvious choice – rustic. I’m pretty obsessed with old looking wood, iron, and simpler times. Being that we were getting married on a horse farm, it just seemed to all fit. (On top of the rustic, there was also a “love bird” thing going on, as well.)

I tried to save on all things possible…even though weddings are pricey, no matter what route you take. I handmade a lot of items to keep the cost down. One major part was decorations.¬†In this post,¬†are a few of the articles we crafted.

We needed a lot of signs for various things and we wanted everything to fit with the rustic theme. Reclaimed lumber costs an arm and a leg, so we bought some brand new wood and decided to make it look old. For the small signs, we used the width of one piece of wood; the larger one, we put 4 pieces together to create one big sign (braced on the backside). Keep in mind, this was before we had any tools other than a drill and a handsaw, and no backyard or garage in which to work. This all had to be done on our tiny screened-in porch at our old townhouse, as you can see from the pictures.

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Back of the larger sign with bracing

We purchased some tinted stain from Lowe’s: Olympic’s Weathered Barn Wood. It is a gray stain made for making wood look¬†old. We beat the wood with chains, hammers, and anything else we could find that would slightly damage it. After¬†that, we applied the stain.¬†After¬†one coat of stain, I messily brushed black acrylic paint onto the sign (just stick the tip of¬†your brush slightly in the paint¬†– do not submerge it)¬†and wiped it off immediately with a paper towel. This created more dimensions in the weathered look.

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Applying the stain

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Weathering complete (large sign)

Below are pictures of the finished products. It was pretty inexpensive and created a nice cohesive element to the event.

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Smaller signs for the backs of our chairs

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Some of the parking signs and sign for the road

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Sign above the bar

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Sign for the reception area

We also made a sign out of an old window I picked up from the Habitat for Humanity ReStore for $5. I wrote the bar list on the panes with a white oil-based paint pen. A friend of mine (shout out to Jackie L. ;)) did this at her wedding, and I loved it, so I kind of copied the idea. Imitation is the highest form of flattery, right!? ūüôā

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I also found a thick piece of glass at the ReStore and did the same sort of thing for the reception menu board.

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For additional small signs, I bought some cheap frames from the Dollar Tree and some black chalk paint. I painted the glass in the frames with the paint – it took two coats. Using the same oil-based paint pen, I wrote on them as well. I tried using real chalk, but it did not look good. The writing was way too light.

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To make the favors,¬†my mom and I went to Sam’s and stocked up on honey. We bought a bunch of small mason jars, some labels, and some quilting squares¬†we found at a sewing shop that matched our wedding colors. The original idea was to tie the square around the top of the mason jar with the twine…but that didn’t work so well. They were popping off left and right.

We did NOT want to have to go back to the store at 10:00pm or whatever time it was. So,¬†I randomly¬†texted my neighbor “do you have like 80 rubber bands?” She didn’t respond….but she came over and said, “now why in the world would I have 80 rubber bands!?” and pulls out a ziploc bag with tons of small clear bands. She was our hero. If you try to do this, don’t forget the rubber bands or you’ll never succeed!¬†ūüôā

On the labels, I printed our birds (which I carried through on any paper products at the wedding), and “Thanks for coming, Honey” with our names and the date. Easy and again, pretty inexpensive but memorable.

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Carrying the mason jar and wood theme along, my mom and I made a bunch of arrangements for the aisle. My step-father owns a tree trimming/removal company, so¬†my parents¬†have a lot of extra logs lying around. My brother chopped the logs so they were level and we used them for “tables”¬†on which¬†all the aisle arrangements¬†would sit. (Mom and I also put these arrangements together the night before the wedding – we bought the flowers wholesale.)

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My brother also cut us a cake stand ūüôā I¬†found a lot of glittery leaf picks &¬†pinecones that were originally Christmas decorations, and bought them at 90 percent off after the holiday to use for decorations around the reception tables, as well.

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We bought all the flowers wholesale, and a friend of ours (Penny!) put the bouquets together.

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I got this cute little dried corn cob basket at Goodwill for $3 for my niece, the flower girl.

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In lieu of a guest book, we found a decorative bird cage in which people could slip notes to the bride and groom.

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There are so many more hand-crafted personal touches that I could share with you, but I would keep you here reading for another hour. Bottom line is, yes, making your own decorations is time consuming, but it saves you money and makes your big day that much more meaningful. Whenever I think of our wedding, I think of how much fun I had planning and making things for it! And I got to do it with the love of my life (and my momma)¬†– so we both remember all of the little things, down to the last sign. We couldn’t have imagined a better day. It fit us to the “T” because we made it fit! ūüôā

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Professional Photos Courtesy of Scott Henderson Photography

Mirror, Mirror, (Please Stay) on the Wall

I really wanted a big, gorgeous, mirror in our master bathroom to give it that degree of luxury that master ensuites should have. I don’t know if you’ve ever shopped for mirrors, but they’re quite pricey. The larger they get, the larger their price tags, as well (obviously).

Well, being frugal like I am, I was not about to spend that amount of money on a mirror. Off to pinterest I went. I knew there had to be a cheaper way that would give me the same result I wanted. I didn’t mind¬†doing¬†some¬†work if that meant saving my wallet.¬†I found a lot of great tutorials about DIY mirror framing and¬†it¬†seemed pretty fool-proof. The husband and I decided to try it.

We were going for a rustic look to match our bedroom. We decided on real wood “planks” so we could stain them, see all the grains & knots and keep the natural look. Along with the wood, we got some hinged hardware to mount on the corners of the frame and some¬†screws to attach to them. It was all sounding great…in theory.

We did not have a miter saw at this point in time, so cutting 45 degree angles wasn’t something we were going to attempt. I saw one design that just left the boards straight without any angled cuts. I¬†liked that look because it¬†kind of went with our theme,¬†so we ran with it.

I couldn’t find oil rubbed bronze hardware, so I sprayed the¬†hinges and¬†screws¬†the color I wanted. I also stained the wood a darker shade. Since our walls were mustard, I figured the darker wood¬†would tone down the color of the room a hair. It is important that you paint the backs of your¬†frame black. This way you can’t see the unfinished¬†side underneath in the reflection of the mirror, once it’s mounted.

After everything we needed was prepped, we started following the tutorials on mounting it to the mirror: “You don’t even have to remove the mirror from the wall. Just attach the¬†frame pieces¬†to the mirror itself with liquid nails adhesive for mirrors and secure it with a little painters tape to keep it in place as it dries…”

Sounds easy enough. Let’s try it. Uh, no…we are huge fools. This was a disaster. It was a mess. Not because the people on Pinterest were liars, but because we didn’t think about the fact that we are using real heavy wood boards…not light trim pieces like they seemed to be.¬†

We thought it would be easy to assemble all the pieces of the mirror, load the back up with liquid nails, and stick it up there with the aid of painters tape. It started falling down…leaving all of its gooey adhesive in its path. I was holding one side up, my husband on the other, screaming and yelling on the verge of all out war. We were thinking “well, maybe if we hold it in place for a few minutes, it will get a little grip and then hang on its own. That’s what the other people did –¬†so they said!” Well, we stood there for at least five minutes with our arms sprawled out holding down every inch of the¬†frame that we could – keeping it firm against the mirror. Arms falling asleep. Frustration heightening. We let go…and it slowly slipped down the mirror again. Our efforts were for nothing.

Frustrated and taking our failed attempts out on each other, we took the frame off the wall. We stared at the goo-filled mirror and thought, “What the hell did we do?”

We walked away from it and left it lying in the middle of the bedroom floor. Then we brainstormed. We really didn’t want to have to take¬†the mirror¬†off the wall,¬†but it seemed that would be our only choice. I cleaned all the gunk off with a razor blade and some nail polish remover so we were left with a clean slate. Luckily, it got rid of all evidence of our defeat.

The hubby removed the mirror and we put in on the floor. We repeated the process of coating it with the adhesive and sticking¬†the frame, this time in four pieces,¬†to the mirror again (no painter’s tape required). We let it sit there for a full two days, just to ensure that the whole fiasco would not happen again. It was probably dry after the first 24 hours, but we weren’t taking any chances.

Biting our nails, we hung it back on the wall, hoping that it would stay in place for at least one day. If that big thing fell, we were in for decades of bad luck, not just seven years.

But, IT WORKED! It’s been almost a year, and it is still hanging! That’s a good sign! ūüôā

It really added a touch of class to the bathroom. It was a really great and inexpensive addition. Total cost: maybe $25 with hardware and adhesive.

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Painted Hardware, Back (painted) Frame Pieces, Front (stained) Frame Pieces, Frame Fully Assembled, Frame Drying on the Floor, Frame on the Wall (finally)

And here is the finished product!

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Turning Nickel Into Bronze

Brushed nickel is not my favorite. I don’t¬†simply hate it altogether. It’s just not my thing. I’ve seen it in some people’s houses and it looks great, especially if their house is more airy and contemporary. I’m a warm, neutral colors kind of¬†girl (with pops of bold colors here and there).

When we moved in, there was this terrible, boring chandelier in the dining room. It had potential, but it wasn’t doing much but hanging there. It was SUPER bright due to the lack of shades, so we usually just avoided turning it on unless it was absolutely necessary. I would’ve bought shades, but I wasn’t all too sure that I was going to keep it.

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I started doing a little research because I had previously seen where people had repainted¬†brass chandeliers.¬†I searched…and searched…and no one was trying to cover up brushed nickel. I almost felt like I was committing a crime wanting to do so. Apparently this stuff is sought after. Well, not for my home. To me, it was an un-matching eye-sore. Amidst all the browns, greens, oranges….sat this bright silver fixture. Ew.

I decided to follow the same instructions for updating brass fixtures. I mean, metal is metal, right? How much different could it be? I figured trying it wouldn’t hurt. I had nothing to lose. Either I was going to refresh the one I already had, or I would go buy a new one. If I messed it up, I was going to buy a new one. I was getting a bronze chandelier regardless, so I might as well try the cheaper route first to see if I could succeed.

We¬†started by removing the chandelier from the ceiling.¬†I put cotton balls in the tops of all the “candle” holders and covered them with painters tape. Next, we attached it to a board so that we could hang it properly from a tree to paint.

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Next, we rigged some rope around the piece of wood to which we attached the chandelier. We threw the rope over the branch of a tree and tied it at a comfortable height for painting.

I chose Rustoleum’s Oil Rubbed Bronze spray paint – the type you can spray from any angle. (The¬†finish¬†almost looks black in the picture, but in reality it is a dark, dark brown.) That type of can allowed me to spray from any awkward angle I needed, to¬†ensure everything was coated correctly. I sprayed everything! Making sure¬†to get the chain, the underside, the top, the plate that attaches to the ceiling – everything! (I even sprayed the tree…a little. Oops.) With the light shining so bright on the fixture, you are more likely to see any missed spots or imperfections, so I took my time to get it right.

I gave it one good coat and then walked away for awhile so it could dry a little…not fully.¬†I went back and touched up a few areas that I missed, but did not have to give an all-over second coat.

I have learned that it¬†is important not to spray too¬†close or too¬†much¬†onto your surface! This will cause it to look very drippy and uneven. You’re going for a smooth, flawless, result. It is better to put two lighter coats on, instead of one heavy one.

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We left the chandelier in the sun for a few hours, just to ensure it was dry enough to move without damaging. We let it hang in the garage overnight, in case of bad weather, for the paint to fully cure.

The next day, we hung the chandelier back where we found it, but those boring “candles” were still bothering me. I browsed for some small lamp shades, but all of them were $6+ each. I needed 6. I did NOT want to spend $36 on lamp shades. I had better things I could do for that price. Even on Amazon.com, which I love and frequent for good deals, they were still “expensive.” I finally found some for $3 at Garden Ridge. I was shocked they were so low in comparison to everywhere else. $18?! Ok. I’m good with that.

And here it is. $8 worth of spray paint and $18 for lamp shades: $26 Chandelier Makeover that finally suits my home.

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All Warm and Cozy

When we were house-hunting, one thing on our wish-list was a fireplace. After searching through many houses, we decided ours was the best that we had seen. It¬†had everything we needed, and we were in love.¬†We had much bigger concerns, and whether or not it had a fireplace was not one of them. To find a house that¬†has everything you want,¬†would have been¬†pretty amazing on our first-time-home-buying budget. Plus, it’s South Carolina, it doesn’t get¬†that cold, right? Who needs a fireplace in S.C.?

When November came around and it started to get cold, I started to complain. All of a sudden I¬†remembered how badly I wanted that fireplace. After the shiny “oh my God we have a house” starts to wear off, you start thinking of everything you wish you would have done if you were buying again. Instead of a simple wish-list, you have a wish-this-or-that-was-different-list. And when it is 18 degrees outside, you can’t help but dream of curling up next to a fire and wondering WHY DIDN’T I BUY A HOUSE WITH A FIREPLACE!? (Apparently I get really angry¬†and dramatic when I’m cold.)

It may not have been quite that dramatic, but you get my drift. It was time for the fireplace to be installed, however that was going to happen.

Adding on a real, legitimate, wood-burning fireplace was out of the question. That was an expense we just could not afford. We thought about gas, but gas is not available where we live at the moment. It may be in the future, but not now. So, we were seemingly left with electric being our only option.

My husband was not on board for this at first. “An electric fireplace? You might as well just not have one at all.” For him, it was wood-burning or nothing.

Well, I wasn’t settling for that. If you know me, I’m pretty much terrified of fire. I have no idea why. Nothing traumatic has happened to me in the past involving fire, but I respect it enough not to mess with it. Whenever we have a fire in the pit in the backyard, I have to wait for all the coals to burn down before I can even think about going inside. When we go out of town, I make sure all the TVs are unplugged, just in case. It’s bad.

So needless to say, electric fireplace:¬†ON/OFF switch, no real flame, WINNER! The search had begun. We went to Lowe’s and browsed through the electric fireplaces. They all had glass fronts and were already cased in some sort of wood “mantel” type thing. They were upwards of $300 and I hated all of them. I didn’t want some dinky little “fireplace” sitting in the middle of the living room that was the size of an end table. I wanted something that looked like a real fireplace! Something I could hang my stockings on at Christmas time and on which I could put cute family pictures. I was getting frustrated thinking we were just S.O.L. and we just needed to wait until we could afford the real thing.¬†Almost without hope, we talked to a gentleman that worked there and told him what we were wanting to do.

He had the perfect solution: an electric log. We had never heard of such a thing. It’s simply a faux log that blows out heat, glows like a real flame, has a remote control,¬†AND has no glass front or wood casing. WHAT!? PERFECT! We were ready to buy it right then and there, but they were sold out. I called all the local Lowe’s stores and none of them had one either. Not only that, but they were a “seasonal” item and they weren’t getting anymore in stock until at least next winter. Ughh…this took us from really excited to really bummed in about 15 minutes.

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http://www.globalindustrial.com/p/hvac/Fireplaces-Pits/fireplaces/pleasant-hearth-electric-log-with-heater-4600-btu-li-24?infoParam.campaignId=T9F&gclid=CO2bqNXVgb4CFcFlOgodTBwAng&gclsrc=aw.ds

Meanwhile, my dad had been wanting us to give him an idea of what we wanted for Christmas. We casually mentioned how we really wanted this, but they were out, blah blah blah. I’m glad we did, because he found it! We were so excited! As soon as we opened that on Christmas Day, the race was on to build the mantel.

We browsed online for plans on Pinterest and Ana White, but they didn’t have anything like we were building. We were trying something totally new, it seemed. So, we kind of had to make up our own plans along the way.

We started with a base, that would be our hearth, built out of 2x4s and some plywood. We had to cut away part of the baseboard so it would sit flush to the wall.

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Next, we put together the mantel part (in the garage), and carried it inside to attach it to the base, We also attached the mantel to the wall for extra support.

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Next, I painted the mantel and base a high gloss white.

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Then, it was back to Lowe’s to find some tile and purchase a miter box. We picked up some decorative moulding to give the fireplace a finished feel. Being that we did not have a miter saw, we purchased a miter box for around $12. It did the job, but definitely not perfectly.

I found some 12″x12″ backsplash type tile with mesh backing that was on sale,¬†as well as some 12″ ceramic tile squares for the hearth. I scored all of it for around $50. We were very limited on tools when we were doing this project, so cutting tile was not an option. The tile I picked had to fit perfectly in the space with minimal cutting. Lowe’s will make your first few tile cuts for free, so I calculated it out and had them cut just what I thought I needed. Somehow I ended up having EXACTLY enough tile, with not even one piece to spare. Talk about precise calculation. I was excited. It was like this thing was meant to be built. ūüėČ

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Next, I painted the inside of the fireplace black, so the log insert would blend in. We built a box inside the opening with a cut out so the cord for the log could be plugged in behind the mantel. This also helped hide the fact that this entire fireplace was made out of wood. The different colors and depths make you believe it is much more than that.

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Let’s put the log in to check it out!

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It was looking good, but something was still throwing me off a little. I felt like the space between the top of the mantel and the top of the opening was too wide. I needed to figure out something to do to balance that area. So, off to Ross I went. I found a great piece of faux ironwork for around $12 that I thought would work perfectly. The ironwork paired with some extra candle holders and other decorative things I had around the house, were just what I felt it needed to be deemed complete.

And here it is! Electric Fireplace for around $250. (Well, $375 if you have to purchase the log.) We absolutely love it and it pumps out lots of heat for such a little unit. To top it off, it actually has dancing faux flames, so it gives off a great ambiance. You can turn it on just for looks, or have the heater going so it serves a purpose. Either way, it’s great!

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From Cramped to Comfortable

About a year ago, my husband and I bought our first house. WE LOVE IT! But after living with it for a little while, we know what works and what doesn’t.

Our tiny dining area was driving us NUTS!¬†Our huge table, chandelier, back door, and wall placement just wasn’t working. After one holiday season around the table¬†with family, we could tell¬†something had to¬†change. Having to scoot up and squish¬†your full belly against the table, just so that someone¬†could walk around you to¬†get¬†to the kitchen, is¬†ridiculous. The fried¬†turkey makes you feel portly enough without the table’s help.

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BEFORE. Kitchen is to the left, big wall to the right, back door right behind…CRAMPED

A few months ago we thought it was time to stop talking about it and actually do something.

Usually, if you have a tiny dining area and a huge table, common sense would tell you to go buy a smaller table. Well, in my world, common sense doesn’t always win. There was no way I was giving up my table. My mom and step dad gave it to us for our old place and it’s not a piece of furniture I had to put together from Wal-Mart, so it was staying! Well, that kind of limited us. We obviously weren’t going to move a wall, or a door, or a kitchen. So, we started brainstorming…and pinteresting (my drug of choice)…and BAM! BREAKFAST NOOK! Problem solved!

First we measured the wall on which the bench was going. Being that it was so long, we opted to make 2 smaller benches that looked like one long one. So, we built two frames out of standard 2×4’s and attached them to the wall.

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Next, we attached the front boards, which are just thin sheets of plywood.

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Then the front trim. We chose MDF because it was cheaper, already primed, and didn’t need sanding.

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We found some MDF beadboard which was a little pricer than I had originally wanted, but we splurged because we knew it would add a nice touch. We got 2 packs of the boards, which we cut in half to make it go that much further. Then, we attached another one of the trim boards to the top to give it that finished look.

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Next, we measured and laid out the top boards to make sure they lined up correctly.

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Then, it was time to paint and stain! The hubby was on staining duty while I painted. Multi-tasking and teamwork is the way to go.

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With a few minor adjustments to make sure everything was straight and level (which you may be able to tell in this pic, the seat was not), we were on our way toward something!

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Allllmost right, but not perfect. The chandelier was still hanging semi-centered in the room…and now that wall with the mirror was boring…

Originally we thought we would create a new hole for the fixture above the table, but that seemed like A LOT of work…patching one hole, repainting the ceiling, making another hole, rewiring the new lamp from the old electrical wiring. It seemed like more of a headache than the entire project thus far.

So, to fix the chandelier problem, we decided to swag it over from its existing location. To do that, we purchased some chain, some new lamp wire, and a swag hook from Lowe’s. The existing chandelier chain and wire was not long enough to reach the new center of our dining room. So, thankfully the ole’ hubby knows a little bit about electrical wiring. With a little time and¬†a few¬†choice words, he got it done.

All that was left was some finishing touches.

So I found some inexpensive “chicken” artwork on one of my many Ross outings.

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I picked up some white plates from the Dollar Tree, some napkins from World Market, and my mom found some great yellow glass chargers at a thrift store, to complete the place settings.

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(For some reason I can’t get the picture to stay horizontal…oh well :P)

And, finally, I recovered the chairs with a little fabric and a staple gun.

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TAH DAH! Finished product for around $250.

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We absolutely LOVE it and could not be happier. We have had people over for dinner a few times since then, and it is SOO much more enjoyable. Plus, we have a better view of the backyard when we’re eating – perfect for watching the dog play.