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!

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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:

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(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:

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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….

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

 

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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. 🙂

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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:

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

 

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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.  🙂

 

dresser-to-buffet

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:

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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.

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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!)…

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…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!

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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! ; )

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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!

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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.

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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.

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

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…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!

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

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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”!

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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!

 

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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! : )

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

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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!

christmas cookies

Happy snow day to those of us in Maryland & elsewhere that got a few inches this morning!  Normally I LIVE for snow days, but today was bittersweet because our CBS cookie exchange was cancelled. And on the rare occasion I was prepared ahead of time, my cookies were all dressed up, ready, and had nowhere to go.  But at least I can share them with you all…. 🙂

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Starlight Mint Sugar CookiesMy mom found the idea for these cookies from Target’s website, and sent the recipe to me.  I adapted it and have included instructions  below (the original recipe & steps can be found here.)

Here’s what you need:

  • 1/2 pound (2 sticks) butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon peppermint extract (**I substituted vanilla extract for the peppermint.  Maybe I’m weird, but something about ‘sugar cookie” + “mint flavored” just didn’t mix in my opinion)
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • Few drops red food coloring (**haha –yeah, right!  More like most of the bottle, Target! Be patient and know that it will take MANY drops to get you to the desired “Christmas red” shade!)

 

Here’s what you do:

1. Beat butter and sugar in large bowl until blended. Beat in egg, milk and extract. Add flour and baking powder; beat on low until just combined.

2. Remove half of dough; press into disc shape and wrap with plastic wrap. (**Don’t try to cut corners like I did and take out what ‘looks like half’ of the dough and color the remainder of the dough still in the mixing bowl.  I would recommend removing all dough together, then dividing in half to get an accurate measurement.  I ended up having more red dough than plain dough and it made the other steps more challenging!)   To remaining dough, add a few drops food coloring. Mix well. Flatten into disc and wrap. Refrigerate both at least 30 minutes.

3. Place colored dough between 2 large sheets of plastic wrap; roll out to a 12×8-inch rectangle, about 1/4 inch thick. Repeat with plain dough. Remove top sheet of plastic wrap from both doughs. Invert plain dough onto red dough. Gently press and trim edges.(** Place back in refrigerator for several minutes longer, which will make it easier to roll the dough up in a spiral next.)IMG_5737  IMG_5743      Remove top sheet of plastic wrap. Starting with short side, roll up dough into spiral. Wrap tightly; freeze about 30 minutes or until very firm.

4. Heat oven to 375°F. Unwrap dough; cut into 1/4-inch slices. On a greased cookie sheet, place slices 1 inch apart. Bake 8 to 10 minutes until set. Cool 2 minutes; remove from cookie sheet to cooling rack. Store in an airtight container.

I then wrapped them in clear cellophane and tied off both ends with ribbon, to get the true peppermint effect. 😉

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They were a labor of love, but I think came out very cute…and hey, as long as you are happy with the results, any arduous task can be rewarding, right?  I think these would make cute neighbor/friend/teacher gifts during the holidays…which I will probably be doing now with all my unused cookies!