Monthly Archives: April 2011

How to Spray Paint Branches

Every room should have a statement piece–something that acts as a focal point and adds a finishing touch. Unfortunately, statement pieces often cost too much to invest in on a tight decorating budget. I was determined to make something work, so I went for impact over dollar signs and walked out to go pick up something for our home. Literally. I put on my trusty flip-flops, grabbed the dog leash, and walked out the door with my mutt, taking her for an impromptu jaunt around the parking lot, through the landscaping, and under the biggest trees.

About ten minutes (and one very confused dog) later, I came back inside carrying an armful of fallen branches, which I deposited in our dining room for safekeeping from potential rain. When Daniel came downstairs later on I heard a “what is THAT” from the general vicinity of my secret stash, so I sweetly explained to my dear hubby that THAT was our new artwork. He looked skeptical.

No really. It’s our new artwork. Ever since I minored in art in college, I’ve been a fan of designs that utilize white space to make interesting angles and dramatic “movement.” So I drew from nature’s designs and added a bit of Krylon spray paint to add height to my living room fireplace mantle. For only $6-10 and 45 minutes or so, you can, too.

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Supplies Needed:

  • Small branches
  • Krylon Matte Spray Paint (I used white)
  • Large plastic sheet or tarp
  • Sandpaper (I used whatever I had on hand already)
  • Some kind of hedge clippers or a similar tool

Directions:

1.  Find some loose fallen branches with interesting angles and nubby bits where twigs are or have been. Make sure they aren’t wet. If they’re damp … let them dry before continuing.

2. Trim the branches to the size needed, clipping twigs to streamline the branch into something that could easily be placed in a vase or other container. Leave enough of the branch bare of twigs so that it can be added to the bouquet of branches and not get too thick and scraggly around the bottom. The final effect should be like a flower stem.

3. Sand off the rough spots where you’ve clipped, where twigs have fallen off on their own, and any nubby patches. Gently blow or wipe off the dust from sanding.

4. Lay out your protective plastic sheet. Place the trimmed branches on the sheet, leaving enough room between each so that the spray paint can cover the entire exposed side. (Note: mine never liked to stay flat, so just be aware of this and make sure to maneuver through all the angles!)

5. Shake your spray paint can to prep the contents. I purchased the more expensive Krylon matte white paint for around $4 at Wal-Mart. You may choose something cheaper or a different color or finish, depending on your preference. However, from other spray-painting tutorials I’ve read, they said to use Krylon for its directional flow sprayer, and I can tell you they ain’t lyin’. That sucker is the BEST. I switched mine to a horizontal spray for this project so I could go back and forth over the branches. Worked like a charm.

6. Let this layer dry for about ten minutes, turn over the branches, and repeat. Continue turning and spraying until you have achieved the coat coverage you desire on all angles of the branches.

7. Let dry for one hour.

And that’s it! Seven simple steps. Now you just have to find the perfect vase to put them in, and set out the whole piece in a spot that could use a little dramatic impact. I used one we had received as a wedding present:

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Linked up at:

Centsational Girl’s Paint Projects Link Party

Tip Junkie handmade projects

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Filed under Art, Budget Decor, DIY, Living Room

DIY No-Sew Vintage Sheet Curtain Tutorial

Yes, you read that correctly. I said “vintage sheet,” and “no-sew.”

Though Dwell Home, Amy Butler, or Ty Pennington fabrics may catch my eye, the budget guides my wallet, and, frankly, budget wins over designer pattern lust any day in our house.

Since I already had the necessary heat bonding tape on hand (though I had to scramble a bit to find it), the grand total of the cost of my DIY curtains was ….

$3.

Yup.  A mere $2.99 for some lovely little vintage curtains.

I was shopping in Goodwill and grabbed this sheet and carried it around with me while I was shopping so nobody else would claim it. (You know, to protect my prize from all the other DIYers teaming about the place hoping to make their own curtains from that very same vintage sheet. Obviously.) Before I did anything rash the hubby would regret (let’s face it: that’s a very feminine print), I texted this message and photo to Daniel.

Me: "Could you live with this until we can afford more expensive curtains? I think it is pretty." Daniel: "Sure."

Sweet! He approves! That lovely sheet was mine just a few minutes later.

So let’s get to the really juicy part … the tutorial.

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Dining Room Reveal: Use What You Have Decorating!

Whew! What a jam-packed weekend! Friday I shopped thrift shops, Target, and Wal-Mart. Saturday, I shopped my own home and did a little DIY-ing. Sunday, I pulled it all together.

I started painting back in March, and while I still have far to go, I was determined to finish up the dining room area so we could enjoy our meals there.

We started with this hot mess …

… and ended with this!

I’m so excited and proud. There may have been a happy dance involved with this reveal. Just sayin’.

Let’s take a look around, shall we?

View from the kitchen:

View from the dining room nook:

Forgive me … I used a different camera than usual for these shots and the lighting is making the paint color change from angle to angle. I’m still learning. However, one of the interesting things about Behr Sculptor Clay is that it really is a trickster, always adapting to the light and turning from a light beige to a warm gray, depending on the light source. The great thing is that ALL of its tones, no matter the light, are lovely.

The biggest challenge was our budget, which was, namely, zilch. Or close to it. I poured into the project a little of my own “mad money” I had stashed away, to get the key components in place. Outside of the paint itself, our grand total for the transformation was just under $25. I already owned all of the pictures and items used to decorate the walls.

Budget breakdown:

  • $13, curtain rod (Target)
  • $4, curtain clips (Target)
  • $3, vintage sheet (Goodwill)
  • $3, sticky tack (Wal-Mart)

I whipped up the curtains from the vintage sheet … tutorial on that to come soon! Daniel helped me install the curtain rod hardware, and after that it was an intense hunt through our home to decorate the empty walls.

Here’s what I came up with:

Yes, I realize the numbers are out of order! Oops.

1) Engagement photo by Kristyn Hogan, printed out by us; 2) Antique printer’s type tray (12 pt font, for any typophiles like me out there); my parents purchased it from an antique store for me several years ago; 3) Vintage serving tray, Pre to Post Modern, Nashville; 4) Small print, stilletoheights on Etsy, 5) Craigslist frame, unfinished quilt begun by my aunt.

Not in any close-ups, but also part of the list, is the vintage tin canister on the table (antique store), vintage books (paternal grandmother and thrift shops), and, finally, the crocheted table runner (maternal grandmother … possibly from my great-grandmother).

That’s a lot of history for one little room! I feel surrounded by my family, my love of vintage, and I did it all for $23. Not too shabby.

Personally? I love that it is my most feminine room in the house, and Daniel still likes it. We both agreed we are MUCH more likely now to sit down at the table and enjoy a meal and some good conversation. In fact, Daniel claimed the table as his reading spot last night.

Mission accomplished.

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Linking up to:

Centsational Girl’s Paint Project Link Party

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Filed under Budget Decor, Dining Room, Home Improvement, Painting

Long Weekend = Project Time!

I have been so far behind on my cleaning that I’ve had to focus on that before I can get to the organization and decoration of our little abode.

I have the blessing of a three-day weekend this weekend, however, so I’m attacking the projects with gusto! I’m playing Pandora through our sound system and getting the cleaning out of the way so I can revisit the dining room project.

As usual, money restrictions have given us the “opportunity” to be creative with our decorating options. I’ve been torn for the past couple of months between waiting and saving for quality furniture and decor versus DIY-ing it to the max and doing something for the meantime. After months of living with a plain jane dining room, I couldn’t take it any longer. Something must be in the spring air, because I’m itching to get my hands dirty again and take up the paint brush, sewing needle, and glue stick. So I’ve accepted that our house is a literal work in progress and its organization and decoration will be an evolution of style and not a coup d’etat.

So be it!

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DIY Curtain Fabric Inspiration

I spent some time on Fabric.com Thursday evening, using their fabulous “Design Wall” tool while hunting down the perfect fabric for some do-it-yourself curtains I have planned. I didn’t hold myself to a particular price range, so I may not be able to afford a few of these, but I can still use them for inspiration. I plan to take a printout of this image with me while looking for my fabric, whether new or vintage.

The result will be a part (I hope!) of a weekend-long project that should stretch my DIY moxie, let my creative artistic side soar, and miraculously stick to a practically non-existent budget. If I succeed, you’ll be the first to know!

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Nashville Craigslist Finds: More Mid-Century Modern

I’ve been at it again! I’m hunting down some dining room furniture and night stands. It’s been a long hunt … but I’ve found a bunch of stuff that might be helpful for other vintage-modern eclectic decor loving Nashville residents.

If you are one of them, I hope this helps!

1) Looking to sell this mid-century sofa (Clarksville), MAKE OFFER; 2) Mid-century Modern Cabinet – $275 (murfreesboro); 3) Mid Century Westnofa style Lounge Chair – $150 (Nashville); 4) 50′s – 60′s Round Wooden Coffee Table – Mid Century Modern – $75 (Berry Hill, Nashville)

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Vacuum a Mattress

We vacuumed our bed today. I’ve read that a mattress gains weight over the years, just from dead skin cells we shed, along with mites and dust. That ‘s INSANE.

So we stopped the insanity. We vacuumed. Yep, we used the whole upright vacuum, beater bar and all. We just took our comforter and sheets off the bed, tossed the naked pillows aside, and plopped that sucker up on top of our king-sized pillow top, set it on “low carpet,” and had at it.

{Our mighty vacuum. Source: Bissell}

It was pretty disturbing to see it was actually picking up gunk. (We have one of those see-through no-bag vacuums and could watch the dust twirl around.) Granted, we had vacuumed the floor first. Maybe we should have done it in the other order, but you know what they say about hindsight being 20/20 and all.

No wonder our allergies have been acting up “somethin’ fierce” lately. We had cleaned out the filter and dumped the former contents of that clear catch-all for the dirt before starting fresh in our bedroom–where the dog isn’t allowed–and there, tumbling around inside, was discarded fur and dust like you wouldn’t believe. It filled it half full from just our room. The bed dust was the icing on the cake, so to speak.

Yikes.

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Filed under Bedroom, Cleaning

Nashville Craigslist Finds: Vintage Eclectic

MID CENTURY MODERN SOFA – $350 (FRANKLIN TN)

(I would like to say I am having a slight case of sofa coveting. I can’t tell if this is a gray blue or a beige affected by the natural light, but I really don’t care. I don’t even care about the chewed-up corner. This is stinkin’ COOL.)

Ikea black tv stand/table – $45 (Nashville – Wedgewood)

(Ok, so not vintage. But it would match an eclectic living room decor easily, and is also easy on the budget.)

1940 style typewriter desk – $320 (Mt. Juliet, Tn.)

Mid Century Modern- Blonde Dresser with Mirror – $420 (Nashville)

Milk Glass Set – $75

(Admittedly, the milk glass is NOT furniture. However, it is lovely to use in decorations, and even lovelier for use as decor for a vintage themed wedding. Nashville brides on a budget … take notice … this would be a steal! I can just see it now with some sweet wildflowers or rosebuds in the vases and tumblers, and, if it was a small wedding, using the plates for their intended purpose!)

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How to Paint a High Stairwell

I’ve been worrying about our painting. There’s been a lag in the process due to the weather in Middle Tennessee (tornado/rainy season), but that’s not what is really worrying me. What I’m most concerned about is my stairwell. It is tall and narrow and mocks me. I don’t want to make big mistakes on that stairwell … after all, I rent, and I am striving to leave the house in better condition than I found it. The color we’ve chosen is a good neutral that will brighten up the space and be a good backdrop for many different styles of design, should the new renters (way in the future whenever we move out to our own home) have different tastes from us. Plus, it will cover up the dingy paint that has seen years of wear and tear.

So, what’s the big deal? I could just leave the stairwell the color it is, right? Wrong. Our home has an open floor plan. Each room runs into the other, including the stairwell space. Uh oh.

So I did a little research, and I found a helpful video over at Renovate Your World that gave me more confidence that we could do this. That, plus reading on contractor’s forum that I can avoid getting the carpet messy when I cut in around the base of each stair (no baseboard!) simply by either using duct tape on the edges to pull the carpet fibers away from the wall, or just using a large metal (clean) spackle knife to push down the fibers while cutting in with a good paintbrush. My two biggest fears solved. Hooray!

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Filed under Budget Decor, Home Improvement, Painting

Practicing

Good bridesmaids practice for the wedding so we don’t trip over our own feet.

My dear friend is getting married today and I am so excited for her. I enjoyed the rehearsal last night and maybe goofed off a little. Especially when I realized mid-walk that Daniel had put the camera on automatic.

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