Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Spray It

If you're looking to spruce up some items around your home without spending a lot of money, spray paint is a relatively quick and easy option. You can spray paint practically anything, in any color you like.

I wondered what this brass scroll mirror would like like in a bold color. I ended up loving it in yellow. 

Valspar and Rust-oleum have a nice selection of colors. Pay close attention when purchasing gloss vs. matte finish. I accidentally picked up the yellow in gloss, and would have preferred matte. It took quite a few coats and was a little shinier than I wanted, but in the end it looked great. The Metallic Satin Nickle worked great on the metal curtain rod. I didn't use orange, but I'm sure I'll use it for a future project. 

I've had a pair of inexpensive lamps since we got married. They are traditional and I still like the style, but I was ready for something besides tan/ivory. 

I carefully taped off the mirror and the lamp stands and set up cardboard spray booths in the garage - with plenty of ventilation. 

Be sure to spray from all angles, especially when you have intricate details. (The circle mirrors didn't end up working out how I planned). 

The lamp stands were instantly transformed! I also sprayed green letters I got at Hobby Lobby. A pizza box worked well as an additional spraying surface - feel free to raid the recycling bin! 

The lamps look new and add a fun pop of color.

The yellow mirror really brightens up the wall and accents the room. This is my favorite transformation.

Spray Painting Tips: 
Spray a few/many light coats, rather than going too heavy all at once.  
Use an even back and forth spray motion - don't concentrate in one spot.
Allow enough drying time between coats. 
Avoid the temptation to touch the surface to see if it's dry yet (you will leave marks!)
Be sure to spray from all angles and rotate the item to cover all areas. 
I highly recommend wearing disposable gloves (and a mask if you have one). 

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Jen Stanbro

I am excited to introduce you to Jen Stanbro, my beautiful and very talented singer/song writer friend. She's one of my oldest and dearest friends on the planet, and she's also a wife, mom, teacher and musician. She puts her heart and soul into everything she does, and she does it for the glory of God.

Jen has been blessed with an amazing voice and the gift of composing songs of worship, encouragement, and original sounds that impact the listener. If you've had the opportunity to hear her sing in person, you know what I'm talking about.

An incredible opportunity to record her music has presented itself. With enough financial support, she will be able to pursue this ministry and share her heart and her music with an even larger audience. You can listen to samples of her music here. Visit JenStanbro.com to read her story.

If you would like to support this ministry, you can back the project, Jen Sings for Jesus, via Kickstarter. There's a very cool promotional video and more information, including how you can receive a digital download. 

Thank you so much for your support!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

The Key

I found a canvas zipper pouch at a craft store with the simple message "being yourself is the key". I was drawn to the charming vintage key image, but something about the words spoke to me. A little cheesy, yes, but so true.

As elementary as this statement may be, it can be challenging to achieve. It got me thinking about how often I compare myself to others. Someone will always be more talented. More intelligent. More creative. More successful. More confident. Prettier. Funnier. Thinner. Happier. You can fill in the blank. There will always be someone out there doing it (whatever "it" may be) better. That's the danger of the comparison game. 

The key really is to be yourself. You. The person God purposefully created you to be. I am one of a kind. You are one of a kind. No one else has your gifts, your personality, your characteristics. I need to remind myself of that truth often. Instead of trying so hard to accomplish, impress, succeed or portray the "best" version of myself that I want people to see.  

God doesn't make mistakes. He made each of us exactly who we are. And He loves us more than we know.  

"I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well." Psalm 139:14

Hold on to that truth. Know that you are wonderful and you are loved. Be who the LORD created you to be. That's the real key to being yourself.  

Sunday, February 17, 2013

2 Panels for the Price of 1

Window treatments can be a pain. Am I right? Just thinking about installing a curtain rod makes me want to forgo it all together. When redecorating our living area, I decided I wanted to add matching curtains to the smaller window that previously had only blinds.

After experimenting with sewing my own patterned curtains and deciding I didn't like them as much as I thought I would (that's a whole other story), I decided to re-use the brown ones I already had for the large main window and find matching ones for the opposing smaller windows. 

The large window used to look like this. I said farewell to the light tan accent "swag" (looks so '90's to me now), and raised the curtain rod to about 3 inches below the ceiling. I also spray painted the black curtain rod with Rustoleum's Metallic Satin Nickel spray paint. 

This handy illustration (via Pinterest) helps visualize how high to hang curtains over windows. For more info visit here

I already had two matching curtain rods in brushed nickel, in the same exact scroll design (happy coincidence!) from my old bedroom. Perfect for both smaller windows! 

Now for the matching brown panels. Clearly the full size large panel would be too big for the smaller windows. I really only needed them to be half the size. But who sells half size panels? I could make my own curtains (again) just like I did here by ironing the hems. But it would probably cost as much as buying them (if not more).

Enter full size panel from Bed Bath and Beyond. I could always cut them in half - an idea that might not be so crazy! That means I would get two window panels for the price of one. Or in my case, four window panels for the price of two. I got the 84" which were $19.99 each, but with my 20% off coupon (and who doesn't have stacks of those?) it brought them to about $16 each. Yes! 

So, that's what I did. I cut them right down the middle and sewed up a quick hem on each side with my sewing machine. This did mean that they were no longer "pocket" panels, where the curtain rod slides through. I used clip rings instead, which I like the look of much better anyway. And with more of my 20% off coupons at B3 the rings were only about $7 per pack. 

That's my tip for saving a few bucks when dealing with painful window treatments. Unfortunately, I don't have any tips for installing the actual curtain rod to the wall. That took me at least two tries each and 4 extra holes in the wall. No joke. If at first you don't succeed...

Me and measuring correctly, just don't get along. It's like the numbers on the ruler are playing tricks on me. I do know how to use a laser level and a drill. It's the math that's the problem!  

Monday, February 11, 2013

I Said Yes...8 Years Ago

Eight years ago, on February 11, 2005, Andrew asked me to marry him (and I said yes!). It was our six month anniversary of "officially" dating. A little soon, some might say! When you know, you know. We had plans to have dinner at Mario's, a special Italian restaurant. I knew Andrew was having lunch with my Dad that afternoon (to ask for his blessing), but I wasn't sure if he was actually going to propose that night. I also didn't know that the reason he was late picking me up for dinner, was because he was at the jeweler's having my engagement ring finished. Talk about a whirlwind day!

We are so happy (and young) in this photo, taken that evening, after Andrew popped the question. I was SO excited and couldn't wait to start planning our wedding - which took place 5 months later! Everything just fell into place. Andrew and I both knew we had found "the one" and wanted to spend the rest of our lives together. Which sounds a little crazy, considering we had only met less than a year and a half prior. I've never been so sure in my heart that I was supposed to do something - marry the handsome soccer player with amazing blue eyes, from Pennsylvania, that won my heart. He is an amazing man and has loved me everyday since, in a way only God could have designed. We have had our ups and downs and bumps along the road, like any couple, but all of the "wonderful" certainly overrules. We often wonder how we could be so blessed. 

I'm so grateful to walk this road of life with him by my side. I would say "yes" all over again.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Handmade Valentine Cards

When I was in elementary school, I always looked forward to valentine's day because I got to hand out cards to all my classmates. Sometimes we made little mailboxes for our desks. I couldn't wait to open those thin paper envelopes, read the silly notes and eat the candy (especially Sweet Tarts). Today, I still like valentines day because I have my forever valentine. I also like that it's another day out of the year to tell the ones you love, how much you love them.

Rather than purchase overpriced greeting cards, I decided to go old school and make a few of my own. I was in the mood for crafting with paper and glue sticks. I made Christmas cards two years ago with paper and fabric and I loved how they turned out. I decided to combine my love for typography, sewing, fabric and specialty paper once again. 

I had some white card stock on hand and left over red envelopes. I cut the card stock to size.

Then I cut and glued some scrapbook paper to the card. 

I only had one large doily, so I cut it into 8 sections and glued one to each card, wrapping it around to the back. 

I typed up "I Love You" and "Happy Valentines Day" greetings on my computer, printing on white return address labels. I just stuck them on the card. What could be easier?

This guy was very interested in the process.

My favorite part was adding a square of burlap and hand sewing it to the card with red embroidery thread in the shape of a heart. Isn't it cute? I just love the different textures.

I signed and dated the back, which also looks cute with the heart thread and doily.

I had fun making them and I think they're better than any store bought cards! I had all of the materials on hand. You can use any combination of papers to whip up some handmade valentines, straight from your heart. They will definitely brighten your loved ones day!

Saturday, February 9, 2013

The View From Here

Storm "Nemo" gave us our fair share of snow. Everything is heavy laden with piles of white. As much of a hassle as it is to shovel/drive/walk in, it is undeniably beautiful and almost serene. The view from here is pretty - from inside my warm house. I'm especially thankful for warm blankets, heat and a roof over my head. Stay warm winter friends!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Living Room Makeover Work

It's not all fun and games when you decide to make over a room (or rooms in my case). It takes a lot of prep work, decisions, and hours of actually completing the work. Luckily for me, I have an extremely helpful, talented and super patient husband. The key word here is patient. After selecting what I thought was the "perfect gray" paint, and Andrew painted an entire wall with it, I realized it was far too blue for what I had envisioned. This was after agonizing over every gray swatch I could find from Lowes, Home Depot, Sherwin Williams, and yes, even Walmart. Then, I deliberated some more, trying to pick a better gray, with less blue. However, I didn't want the room to look like cold industrial concrete either.

Here's an "in progress" shot. Next, I picked up a couple sample paints (which I probably should have done in the first place). One was too "brown" and the other was just right. "Gray Plank" BEHR paint was the winner. I can't stress enough how critical it is to test gray paint before you make your final selection. Even now that it's completed, it looks totally different in natural daylight than it does at night with interior lighting. I work with color for a living, so even for me, it was frustrating! 

This is the "too blue" wall. It looks like a fun house with 3 different wall colors and the floral couch. Yikes!
My amazing husband, painting away, late into the night, just to make my home decorating dreams come true. He certainly worked hard and put up with my crazy requests! 

Bye-bye brown and blonde walls! 

We also had to patch two corners that used to house a sound system with shelves from the previous owners. I say "we" but I was mainly responsible for ripping them out. Andrew did all the expert patching! 

On top of that, there was an electrical outlet that needed to be flipped around from inside the coat closet to the outer living room wall. What? You mean everyone doesn't have electrical outlets in their closet? I didn't think so. As odd of a job that was, Andrew managed to saw a hole in the wall and make it work. My nagging encouragement surely helped :) I knew he could do it! 

Here's a look back at the room BEFORE. 

At the time, I did like the brown walls.

But now, I think it looks even better. So fresh and modern. More open too.

It may not be as quick as they get things done on HGTV, but if you know how to use a paint brush and patch a few drywall holes, it's definitely achievable. Doing the work yourself can save quite a bit of money. The key is to have the right tools, do the prep work ahead of time, and be patient. Or in my case, have a husband that knows what he's doing :) Don't be afraid to switch things up and refresh a room with a new color!