coral frames

Hi all!  Just wanted to share a couple frames I’ve painted recently.  I’ve been trying out a coral pattern for a summery + beachy look.

This frame I made for my dear friend Amy’s engagement…

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…..and I did an aqua/turquoise color scheme for my mother-in-law’s birthday.

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Happy Wednesday!


inexpensive art

Happy Friday!

Last week, I worked on two projects that have been on my to-do list for a while.   I’ve struggled with what to put in the empty space on the shelf above our television, and have searched for the right piece since the entertainment center was installed.  I wanted one large ‘something’ to serve as a focal point, and was coming up empty at my usual haunts (Homegoods, Target, consignment shops…)  My friend Brooke and I went to Luckett’s annual outdoor market a few Sundays ago, and I came home with a few other treasures, but nothing for the shelf.  SO, I finally decided to take matters into my own hands, paint a piece of art, and frame it.

I’ve been loving (and pinning) lots of pastel, fairly muted, “happy” abstract oil paintings and watercolors, and so I tried my hand at creating my own, pulling colors from our living room.  Some of my favorites are by artists Britt Bass Turner and Elise Pescheret, both of whom I discovered on Pinterest (of course).

Here is just a tiny sample of their work, which served as my inspiration:


(Above painting is “Collete” by Elise Pescheret)

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So off I went to Michaels. They were having a BOGO frame sale, and I came home with this for the project:


I needed a long, rectangular frame for the space and could only find collage frames.  So I just removed the mat and traced it on artist’s paper to get the proper dimensions.

Then with my trusty acrylic paints (all purchased inexpensively for various projects over the past several months), I took a deep breath, said a little prayer, and made my own version….


…then re-framed it. Here it is at home in our entertainment center:




I wanted it to complement the small pops of orange & coral we have throughout the room, as well as the aqua and grey overall color scheme.  I am very pleased with the result and ESPECIALLY thrilled that spot is now filled!  And hey, because it was so inexpensive, if we ever find something we like better, we can always replace it and move the art to somewhere else in the house.  I love when purchases can have a variety of uses and “homes” over the years under one roof. 🙂


What did I use the other frame for?  Had to take advantage of the Buy One, Get One Sale!  For years now I’ve wanted to make some sort of print using the free paint chips available in abundance at Lowe’s/Home Depot/hardware stores.  A few weeks ago, while waiting around for paint samples to be prepared for me at Lowe’s, my eyes landed on the wall of Pantone color samples.  They were the perfect size; larger and more rectangular than ‘classic’ paint chips (think the vertical strips).  With Emmeline’s big girl room in mind, I gathered up all chips from the coral & pink family. Now that I’m typing this out, is there a better term than “paint chip”? Help? None comes to mind…have I been calling them the wrong thing all my life?!

Anyway, I thought they would be cute to create a piece of “modern-looking” art to hang in her new room.

Here are the frame and chips ready to go:


I cut the bottom margin off each rectangle, then tried various arrangements of shades until I landed on this one:



Then using a leftover piece of artist’s paper from my abstract painting, I lined them up, making a grid.  When I got them evenly spaced, I taped them down and put the mat and frame back together!

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So easy-peasy.  The hardest part was lining the rectangles up evenly.  And talk about cheap art! I’ve been dreaming about all the cute color “grids” you could make…blue…green…purple…

I will post pictures of the print hanging on her wall next, along with other aspects of her room that we’ve been working on for the past few months!  With three weeks to go til D-Day, it’s coming along!

Hopefully I could give a couple ideas to those of you in need of  inexpensive art solutions for the home.  Have a great weekend 🙂

diy frames

Happy Monday! Just wanted to take a moment to share a frame I made recently as part of a shower gift for my friend Molly and her husband Jason.

They were married just a couple weekends ago and hosted a beautiful ceremony and reception in Bay Ridge, Maryland.  They did a lovely job of integrating a nautical theme, which is meaningful to both of them  {as Jason is a boatsman and the event was right on the Chesapeake Bay, where they currently reside}.

So, I attempted to integrate the same theme into the frame’s design:

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For more frame ideas, feel free to take a look here & here at past posts.  🙂


living room entertainment center

Probably our most exciting “project” to date is the beautiful entertainment center my father-in-law Ray created for our living room this year.  I put “project” in quotes because I had absolutely nothing to do with the creation of this exquisite piece, other than emailing him a picture of my vision.

Jason’s dad is not only is a master woodworker {as evidenced below}, but he’s also one of the very kindest and most giving men I know.  His tireless months spent working on this project, after his full-time job and on weekends, is just one small example of his extreme generosity.  We are so thankful for everything he did, start to finish, and the finished product is simply incredible and awe-inspiring!

To give you some background, I was completely fed-up with our “entertainment center” situation in the living room.   I put “entertainment center” in quotes because it was a sorry excuse for one.  I was never satisfied with it, from the moment we brought it home from Ikea to our apartment as newlyweds.

Here is a close-up of what we had in the corner of our living room:

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No matter how much I rearranged all the little cubbies, it always looked like a black hole of unattractiveness. One night, when I was on the brink of breakdown over it (I know, get a GRIP, Claire), Jason suggested we ask his dad to help us build something new for that spot.

We knew we wanted something with a built-in feel, but could be taken with us when the time comes for us to move.  We needed display shelving as well as cabinet storage.  After a couple days of research, we landed on this particular style, done by Kelly Stivers’ of Bungalow Blue Interiors.  Here is a snapshot of what she did in her home:

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A few short months later, this was a part of OUR home:


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In addition to how wonderful it looks, we can’t get over how much MORE room it actually gave us!  The storage cabinets below are wonderful, and I’ve had a ball creating little vignettes in each shelf.  Here are some close-ups:


{my teeny collection of decorating books & teeny abstract art, in in an old frame spray painted gold}


{lacquer boxes are from Homegoods….Herend elephant perched on top was Emmeline’s first birthday gift from her GG & Popps}



{Frames are Homegoods purchases, horse was found at an antique store in Richmond, given to me by my mom…I passed it up, but she surprised me with it later…an homage to my affinity towards horses ; ) }




{Black frame housing abstract was a cheapie at Homegoods…I taped off the corners and painted them gold to dress it up a little}

We are overjoyed with the beautiful addition to our living room, and it will be enjoyed for years to come.  It goes above and beyond what we imagined, and we are so thankful to Ray for his loving handiwork!


We love living in Rodgers Forge, but space is, well, a commodity.  Some day I’d of course love a legitimate buffet or sideboard for our dining room, but this hand-me-down dresser has to get the job done for now.  And it does provide a great amount of storage!

Here is an old pic:



If you can’t replace it, you can at least re-do it.  Maybe that should be my motto.  Or as part of my epitaph, along with “lover of chalk paint”.  Because of course I turned to Annie to give this dresser a new attitude.

We had first moved the piece to the adjacent wall.  Then with Versailles, we gave it a unique pale creamy-yellow-green look.





Because of the dark blue walls and dark wood of our dining room table, I felt like the corner with our “buffet” needed to be lightened up. And I think this helped!

basement makeover

“Making over” has been a common theme in our house, since we found out our family would be growing by one more girl this June.  We knew we’d have to give up our third room (previously used as a guest room) to become Emmeline’s ‘big girl room’, and her former room would stay as the baby’s nursery.

So, our basement needed to be a multitasker; serving as a guest quarters and play/tv room. Luckily, we have our second full bath in the basement, so when people come to stay, they will have their own facilities.

We knew we wanted to get rid of the old sofa (which was featured in one of my very first posts, my barn sale steal!)…


…and replace it with a sleeper sectional.  We found just what we were looking for at Gardiners Furniture.  We purchased it on New Year’s Eve while they were running excellent specials, and it was well worth the wait… we were so excited when it arrived!


The couch is so comfortable and has been perfect for creating extra seating downstairs.  And boy is it great when you can both lie down, watching tv fully extended without touching! ; )


Here’s a pic so you have a clear visual of our coffee table and new carpeting.  The coffee table was a Craigslist purchase when we first moved in, and it was given new life with Annie Sloan’s “Antique White”.  Our posters once had homes in different rooms, but we collected and reframed them all for the basement, hoping to give them a greater impact when grouped together.  Pillows are needlepoint Jonathan Adler (barn sale purchase), side table is from Homegoods.

The low-grade carpet that was installed before we moved in had certainly started to show wear and tear.  We knew if two gals would be crawling/playing/lying on it constantly, we needed fresh wall-to-wall carpet.  Thank you Lowe’s!


The floor lamp was a hand-me-down from my in-laws, and we gave it a new shade to match the lamp’s seen in pictures above.  Blurry child has not been Photoshopped out, sorry.


Our Ikea bookshelf, also purchased off Craigslist when we first moved in, was stained dark walnut.  Annie Sloan to the rescue, once again!  We combined Antique White with Graphite {have a mentioned chalk paint is also great for mixing?!} to give it this medium grey, distressed look.  So much better.


This desk was once a bright blue {see below}…


…kindly purchased at a yard sale by my in-laws when we first moved in and I needed a desk space.  One day I would love to have a built in “command center”, but this more than does the job right now.  We painted in Antique White and wow, what a difference it made.  The chair was purchased from Lucketts in Leesburg, VA.  If you live in the area and have never been, it is definitely worth the trip! I know it’s dark {please pardon my extremely novice photog skills}, but the piece to the right of the desk is our printer stand. It’s faux wood and was formerly white, purchased from good ol’ Craigslist.  Painting it Graphite makes it look much better alongside the desk.

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The tv moved down from the living room and was mounted to create a better viewing situation, and more space for TOYS!  The bookshelf to the right was actually a ‘less-than-perfect’ piece that was supposed to be part of our living room entertainment center, which will have its own post soon….anyway, my father-in-law gave it to us to use to hold electronics, and with a coat of Antique White, it’s perfect for the basement!


My attempt at toy organization.  It’s been working for now, while Mom is saddled with most of the cleanup….


We are loving our “new” basement, and envision the hours we’ve already spent down there doubling when Emmeline’s baby sister arrives! : )

master makeover

SEVERAL months ago, our bedroom underwent a major facelift.  We had been living with a drab paint job, and a hodge-podge of colors….just not the serene, peaceful bedroom look we desired.  Some additional “before” pics can be seen here ,  back when we did a quick headboard fix while keeping everything else the same.

The “before”:

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After about a week’s worth of hard work, here is the “after”!



For our bed, we re-shaped and re-uphoulstered the headboard using a jigsaw and new fabric (which was purchased on sale at Jo~Ann’s).  We also traded in our old comforter for this one, found at Homegoods for a steal!



The walls are Valspar’s “Frosty Grass “.  We framed an old map of Baltimore, which is actually for sale by the sheet at Su Casa for $5.  The flamingo is a re-print of artwork my parents have at their house…I have always loved it, so for our last anniversary they gave us our own! : )


The window sheers are from Target’s Threshold line, as is the cream wool area rug.


This garden stool was probably my biggest splurge in the whole room.  I found it for $70 at Homegoods and scooped it (I ended up getting 10% off for a mark on it, which I was later able to remove)….Jason {very nicely} gave in to my begging and let me keep it after I brought it home…I told him if I didn’t buy it right when I spotted it, it would be gone from the store…us girls know how Homegoods works! ; )  Oh and please ignore the toddler fingerprints on top.


While Jason was doing a masterful job painting the walls, I transformed our bedside tables with Annie Sloan’s chalk paint in “Paris Grey”.  You will see her product featured in many of my subsequent posts–as soon as this project was done, we were hooked!  Here’s my plug: it’s awesome.  No need to prime, prep, or sand.  It goes on beautifully and leaves a soft, velvety, distressed finish.  You then rub clear wax on top to seal.  We’re hooked.  Our running joke over the last few months is if it stands still long enough in our house, it will get chalk painted.  If you live in our neck of the woods, Laissez Faire in Timonium is an excellent Annie Sloan retailer, and they sell tons of furniture that has already been painted using her products.  Great for inspiration!


We replaced the old wood blinds with white blinds in the windows…

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An up-close of the headboard…we chose a herringbone print which I turned on its side to avoid having to cut it up and sew!

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You can see a glimpse of Jason’s chest of drawers, which we also painted in the Paris Grey.



I will always be a proponent of the transformative powers of a little paint and fabric!  We are so much happier to spend time in this room…it’s a far cry from when we moved in, and feels much more grown up and established.

Thanks for letting me share our makeover with you!