Nothing Like It

There’s nothing quite like Duluth in the fall. The crisp air, the smell of pine trees, the beautiful colors on the trees. It’s one of my favorite places to be.As an end note, I would like to once again profess my undying love for my iPhone, without which none of these pictures would exist. And also a shoutout to Apple for adding the sweet panorama function to the new update that is responsible for the last picture. Couldn’t have had better timing.

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If any of you remember, way back in June I talked about my rather ambitious list of projects for the house. Patio furniture update, painting the kitchen table, redecorating the office… It was quite a list, and it remains quite a list. But I have managed to check a few things off so I thought it might be time to share them. First up, the patio furniture update. I was going to share the before pictures but apparently I erased them all, which makes sense cause they were really ugly. As in light beige with rust.This isn’t my dream patio furniture by any means but for the price of 5 cans of spray paint, it is a gigantic improvement. My very supportive husband was rather skeptical about spray painting furniture, and I’m not gonna lie, I was a bit scared myself, but it worked like a charm. Rustoleum Oil Rubbed Bronze spray paint is my new best friend. I painted these in June and they still look great. I imagine I’ll need to touch them up a bit in the spring but that’s just fine with me.One of these days I’ll actually decide what I want for furniture on my patio, until then spray paint is the answer to all of my patio problems.

Next up is my pillow rejuvenation project. Note that I call it rejuvenation and not “new pillow” project. That is because I was too cheap to actually buy new pillows or pillow forms. Because lets face it, they’re ridiculously expensive for what they are and they just get packed down right away anyways.So instead I bought a cheap pillow at target, cut a slit in my old throw pillows, stuffed them as much as I could with the stuffing from the target pillow, sewed them back up and then recovered them. Yes, I may be the cheapest girl in the world but it cost 4 bucks to make 3 big fluffy pillows so I’m okay with it.I absolutely adore the orange chevron material and it was a total surprise find at JoAnns. I’d been looking for something like it for over a month without much luck so when I stumbled on this in their quilting aisle I was ecstatic. And at 2 bucks a yard (have I mentioned I also call this the poor girls pillow makeover…) it was simply meant to be. There was only one yard left but it was just enough to cover the two smaller pillows. I found the neutral material and buttons to make a third pillow for the loveseat. It ended up working out perfectly and adding a little variety. Total cost for three new throw pillows… $11.00. Not too shabby if I do say so myself.

Last up is the dining table that I scored at the Salvation Army in May. I’ll be honest, this project nearly gave me an aneurism, and that is after my mother’s amazing hubby sanded it down for me saving me hours of work and muscle knots. I blame the crappy paint and the lady at Home Depot for recommending it. I learned some valuable lessons along the way, that my loyalty to Sherwin Williams was well deserved and I will never stray from their paint department ever again, and that the advice of a sales person is never ever a substitution for research. This was a rare occurrence for me, not doing my homework before buying supplies. It will never happen again. Six coats of paint later (which will never actually dry hard enough for a table) I decided to go with good enough. I covered it with polyacrylic (which I do really like and will be using again) and have decided to let go of the fact that it will get nicked and dented. When the top gets too beat up, I’ll strip it and do it again, but with better paint!!! It does look pretty though, especially if you aren’t looking for all the little imperfections like I am. Letting it go… Letting it go… 😉 Next up I am finishing the chairs to go with the table. They are half way spray painted, soon to be completely spray painted, then topped off with new fabric covered seats. The seats depend on the men in my life with saws so this may take awhile…And with a little luck in the weather department and motivation on my part I hope to crank out the desk for our office redo. I need the weather to stay warm enough to stain in the garage!!! I may be a bit overly optimistic though considering how little time I actually have to get it done with all our travel coming up but I’m holding on to hope. The Parade of Homes last weekend has me dying to redecorate something!

The Project that Nearly Killed Me

After far more frustration and failure than should ever accompany a simple project like this, operation change the living room artwork is finally accomplished.I swear this project nearly drove me mad. It started out as a map project. I ordered a great big beautiful map from amazon and intended to cut it in thirds and glue them to the canvases. Easy peasy. What ended up happening was simply an epic fail. The first canvas I tried wrinkled and bubbled and basically turned into a red hot mess in about 5 seconds. I proceeded to turn into a hot mess right along with it, because that’s what I do when my crafty projects fail. I am a pillar of strength I tell ya’. So after the map and I finished with our meltdown I had the brilliant idea to actually hold the map up over the couch and see how it looked. It looked brown. Not the beautiful yellow that it had looked like online, or the pleasant orange that it looked like when looking at it by itself, but brown, like the walls, like the couch. The map turned the whole area into a sea of brown. Lovely.

So back to the drawing board I went, now with the determination to get some color up on those walls. After lots of time scouring the internet for ideas, I decided to stick with my original 3 canvas idea with song lyrics in the middle. So back to JoAnns I went for a replacement canvas and vinyl letter stickers.And then once again back to the land of epic failure. I measured, drew lines, carefully placed my stickers, realized that I forgot to include the actual letters in my measurement so it was uneven, remeasured, realized that my lines were going to show up when I took the stickers off (duh!!!). It was at this moment that I remembered how every single one of my elementary school report cards said “Jackie needs to check her work”. I guess some things will just never change. Even when I check my work I get it wrong so I choose to simply accept it as who I am. But eventually I figured it out. And by eventually I mean I made enough mistakes to work off of and my amazing hubby came in with a sweet L shaped ruler that saved my sanity.Then I got to actually have some fun and paint away. At least one part of this project was easy!Next up I made stencils out of painters tape. I cut a stencil out of paper, taped it on wax paper, covered the area with painters tape on the other side and cut it out. This actually worked out really well, thank goodness or I really may have thrown the whole thing in the trash. Then I painted merrily away and hung my proud new project over the couch.And it looked wrong. I couldn’t put my finger on it, it just didn’t look right. Too small, too short… I wasn’t quite sure, and neither was anyone else who walked in my house and said the same thing, until my darling BFF told me she read that artwork over the couch needs to be at least 80% the size of the couch. Bingo! So I decided the answer to my problem was to hang frames on each side of the canvases, and since the lyrics are “Home is wherever I’m with you” it only seemed fitting that the frames hold something related to places Justin and I have been together. Cue more time scouring the internet which ended at zazzle.com where I was able to have vintage postcards of places we’ve visited together printed out for less than a dollar a piece. Finally my project was complete! It may have nearly cost me my sanity but in the end, I’m pretty happy with it 🙂Now the only problem is that the new artwork has called attention to my desperate need for new throw pillows. Those puppies are beyond ready for throw pillow heaven. And maybe a new couch, which will likely mean adjusting all the artwork, so a million more holes in the wall because like I said, even when I check my work I get it wrong… Will the madness never end??? 😉

Lately

We’ve been taking lots of long walks through the neighborhoodwith the occasional rest in the shade because it’s so darn hot (you know, like 80 degrees. Somebody’s a bit of wimp…) We’ve been spending time at home relaxing from those relaxing walksand working on projects around the house, like spray painting furniture and sanding tables.And we’ve been spending quality time on the porch swing reading a good book (Rules of Civility if anyone’s interested).

All in all, it’s been a week spent the just way summer is intended to be spent.

Photo Canvases…Check

While my home decorating list seems to just keep getting longer, I have managed to start checking projects off. I decided to tackle the photo canvases I wanted to make for the master bedroom first since they would be a quick and easy project.I won’t go into a full tutorial here since the internet is already filled with great info that is far better than I could ever do. So I’ll just give you the basics in case you’re interested. Paint the sides and edges of your canvas. After it’s dry, paint canvas and the back of your photo (trimmed slightly smaller than your canvas) with mod podge and adhere. Smooth the photo on from the front as well as the back of the canvas. Coat top of picture with a coat or two of mod podge (this step is optional, I did it because I like the way the brush marks over the top make it look more “artsy”). After the mod podge is dry, dry brush around the edges with black paint. That’s all there is to it! Pretty easy project, although I will say it took some work to get the edges really black. I ended up using a sponge brush and sponging it on super thick.I used the pictures that were already hanging in the bedroom, replacing two framed pictures with the three canvases, adding the picture that was on the opposite wall over my dresser. To replace that picture I printed out lyrics from the song “Marry Me” by Train and put them on scrapbook paper.I love the way the yellow scrapbook paper gives a nice little pop of color. It was a super easy project, took me about 15 minutes, but it’s a fun change up to the room. So there you have it, a fun little crafty freshening up of our bedroom. It’s certainly not a huge change but it’s nice to have something new to look at on the walls sometimes!

Call Me Thrifty

My friend and I headed out on Friday to try our hand at thrifting. Sufficient to say we are hooked.

We started out the day at the Salvation Army ReStore where we didn’t find much besides the realization that this super cool store is really close and must be visited frequently.

Next up we hit Hidden Treasures in Saint Anthony. True to it’s name, we found lots of treasures, including these lovelies. I paid 9 bucks for the both of them. 9 bucks!!!! They are huge and going to look fantastical once I spray them with some rustoleum oil rubbed bronze paint! Did I mention I got them for 9 bucks?!?!

Luckily for us Hidden Treasures was right by Jersey Mikes where pretty much the best sandwiches ever live so we made a pit stop and made our stomachs very happy.On the way to our next store we happened to drive right by the MPLS Photo Center, and since that place makes me happy I thought we should make a quick stop.I adore this place with all my heart. And I remembered to snap a picture of my favorite photo hanging in the gallery right now.I know my picture is awful but I do kind of love the way it turned out with my reflection in the photograph.And isn’t this photo amazing??? The mist, the still water, the horse and rider. Love it.

The next stop on our whirlwind tour was the downtown Salvation Army and it was giant! And it just so happened to hold the most magnificent thrift store find that I will probably ever find.Guess who needed a new kitchen table??? You guessed it, me! This thing is gorgeous and is going to look so incredible once it’s painted black. And the best part??? It was $25. This single find has probably given me unrealistic expectations for the rest of my life. Now I would like you all to take a moment and appreciate how meant to be this table was for me.Not even an inch to spare. She was made to come home in my Jeep! I can’t wait to get started on this project! I still need chairs but the tentative plan right now is my dad and I are going to build two benches for the long sides and I’m going to buy two chairs for the end, either new or refinish some from a thrift store/Craigslist (I told you I was hooked).

After squeezing the table into the Jeep we headed downstairs and found a whole new level of amazingness in the “As Is” store. It’s filled with brand new stuff that stores send when they don’t need it anymore. Clearance, dye lot testing, that sort of thing. I was able to snag two adorable swimsuits for $15 total. Oh how these good deals make my heart happy. I thought we’d never leave the store because we kept finding more treasures around every corner. Housing this store and the Salvation Army thrift store in the same building is pure genius.

Once we finished our thrift store adventures it was time to buy supplies to make our new treasures amazing so it was off to Home Depot and JoAnns. I also picked up supplies to redo my patio furniture. I’m going to try to spray paint it with Rust-Oleum oil rubbed bronze. I’m scared. Not gonna lie. But if it works out it’s going to be amazing. If not, well let’s not talk about that possibility.It is in desperate need of some love so hopefully my spray painting will be just the ticket!

So now that I have all these treasures it’s time to get to work making them awesome. The only problem is that I have way too many projects and I don’t know where to start!