Tuesday, July 31, 2012

What I Wore Wednesday and an August Challenge

Don't hate me for saying it, but I don't like the month of August.
Every year, when August rolls around, I find myself yearning for the cooler weather of fall. By this time, I'm tired of watering my garden and am more than ready to be back in our school-year routine. As for getting dressed- ugh- by August I am desperate for my turtleneck sweaters. And, although every women's magazine out there claims summer is time for low-maintenance beauty routines, between shaving my legs, fighting what the humidity does to my hair, and maintaining my pedicure, I am dreaming of the comfort of my wintertime layers.

So, in order to get through the hazy-lazy days of August, I am setting myself a little WIWW challenge.
In August, I will don at least 4 WIWW- worthy outfits each week.
A modest goal, yes, but it's more than I've been able to muster in July.
And if I strive to attain this goal with the same dedication I apply to diets...
{Full Disclosure Ahead!}
...you can fully expect lots of excuses and cheating.

On to this week's WIWW outfits.
I will, of course, be linking up with Lindsey at The Pleated Poppy.
pleated poppy

We had dentist appointments this week, and since our dentist keeps his office at a sub-zero temperature, I was able to get away with jeans.

Cardi: Old Navy
Tee, Sandals: Target
Jeans: Silver

Caitlin and I had a girls day on Saturday. She has been desperate to go school shopping, so we spent the morning at the mall. Her favorite purchase? Notebooks. Not the clothes, shoes, or cute accessories we bought. Nope. Notebooks.

Jacket: Gap
Dress: Target
Cami: Shade Clothing
Petal Pushers: The Pleated Poppy
Slip extender: A Slip Shop {Etsy}

I always used to save my dresses for special occasions, but lately I've been busting them out for everyday. I wore this one to church on Sunday.

Dress: ModCloth
Cardi: Target
Pearls: Macys
Sandals: Naturalizers
Slip Extender: A Slip Shop {Etsy}

Thanks for stopping by and have a great Wednesday!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Step Up the Cute: DIY Ikea Stool Makeover

To paraphrase William Morris, I try to only have things in my home which I know to be useful or believe to be beautiful. But in an ideal world, I would have a combination of both.

Guess which category this stool fell under?
It's the Bekvam step-stool from Ikea. We've had it for years: it's sturdy as can be and stands up to all manner of abuse. And, at $14.99, it was a heckuva bargain. Useful: yes. But it left a little something to be desired in the way of beauty. 
In a fit of ambition, I decided to give it a makeover and "step up the cute." 
{feel free to throw tomatoes when I make lame puns}

I started by giving the stool two coats of a fun mustard yellow paint, French Pale Gold by Behr.
That, in itself, was an improvement and I was tempted to stop there. But I can never leave things well enough alone, so I kept going.
I chose an image from The Graphics Fairy and applied it using a simple technique.
{I used the same basic method for my Custom Canvas Word Art 
and for the wall quote in the Harry Potter Hideaway}
1. Print out your desired image. I've learned through experience that simpler fonts are better.
2. Scribble with pencil on the back of the image, covering it completely.
3. Place the image on the surface to be painted and trace the entire thing in pencil.
4. Remove the printed image and double check that everything is fully transferred and straight.
5. Using a fine-tip brush, paint over the pencil outline.
6. Add details/highlights, if desired. I also sanded lightly over the image to rough it up a bit. 

I'm no calligrapher, so this method works best for me, and it's pretty easy to do.
Now I can enjoy the best of both worlds: beauty and usefulness.
Okay, maybe beautiful is a bit of a stretch, but it's definitely cute!
 Hope you enjoyed this little project. Let me know if you have any questions.
Thanks for stopping by!

I'll be linking up here:
A Bowl Full of Lemons: One Project at a Time
The Shabby Nest
At The Picket Fence: Inspiration Friday
My Romantic Home: Show and Tell Friday
Miss Mustard Seed: Furniture Feature Fridays

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

What I Wore Wednesday

pleated poppy
It's Wednesday again, and I'll be linking up at The Pleated Poppy.
 I did {comparatively} better with my WIWW outfits this week. 
Dress: Shade Clothing
Belt: Target
Shoes: Naturalizer
Necklace: Allora Handmade

I used to think brown and gray couldn't go together, but I've seen it a few times on Pinterest and on other WIWW participants. What do you think, does it work?

 Sorry for the weirdly colored iPhone pic, but my camera is on the fritz. I need a new one, but I am intimidated by fancy cameras...
Any shutterbugs have a good recommendation for me?
Cardi: Target
Tee: Lands End
Skirt: Old Navy
Petal Pusher: The Pleated Poppy
Sandals: hand-me-downs from my mama

Thanks so much for stopping by!
Have a great Wednesday!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Closet Turned Harry Potter Hideaway

There are two things all kids love:
1. cool hiding spots
2. reading
Okay, so maybe all kids don't love reading. But my two little nerds do, and they read a lot.
They read so much, I have actually had to utter the phrase, "Put that book down and come and watch television with the family." They love it so much, I can take away their reading privileges when they misbehave {turns out, they just didn't care too much about losing TV or video games}.

So when Hunter's 8th birthday rolled around, we decided to turn an extra closet in his room into a Harry Potter-inspired hideaway. Our whole family loves Harry Potter; heck, my ringtone is the movie theme song. We knew this was something Hunter would enjoy for years to come, and we all had fun planning and working on this project.

 Hunter is lucky enough to have two closets in his bedroom. One holds clothes, the other generally holds mess.

Exhibit A: the before shot.

He had already turned this space into a pseudo- book nook, but it had a tendency to get messy.
So we cleared everything out and started fresh. Hunter, who loves all things astronomical,  had requested a starry night sky on the walls.
I gave the walls and ceiling a coat of navy paint {Starless Night by Behr}. Beyond that point, I was stumped. I had no idea how to proceed. So, I did what I always do: I winged it.
I remembered seeing this post from Carmel at Our Fifth House. That sounded like a reasonably simple idea, so I decided to give it a try. I mixed a small amount of the wall paint with a few drops of white craft paint.
 Then, using a damp rag, I swirled the paint around to make the walls look more "atmospheric."

Then came the fun/crazy part. Using a tiny little paintbrush and some metallic silver paint from Martha Stewart {at Home Depot}, I painted stars, moons, and planets on every inch of the walls and ceiling.
{Excuse the shadowy pictures. It's hard getting good light in a closet.}
 I had to go all Michelangelo for the ceiling, and my neck and shoulders are punishing me for it.
Chris installed an outlet and hung an outdoor lantern {also from Home Depot} on the wall. The lantern was kind of the tipping point as far as going toward a Harry Potter theme. Hunter took one look at it and deemed it a "Hogwarts lantern" so we just went with that idea. Besides, my son lives and breathes Harry Potter. He is fully expecting to get a Hogwarts acceptance letter on his 11th birthday, so it was a natural choice.
I added a quote from one of the films using a fairly simple technique. I printed out the words in the size and font I wanted, then went over the back side of the print-out with chalk. Next, I taped them to the wall, like so:
I went over each letter with a pencil,  and it left a chalk outline on the wall. Then I was able to just paint right over the chalk.
 I messed up the spacing a bit, but perfection's not really my thing.

We purchased a kid-sized chair at Target and filled the shelves with Hunter's favorite Potter-paraphernalia.
 A Union Jack pillow from Bed, Bath, and Beyond seemed like a fitting addition.
 I'm obviously no muralist, but the stars were quite fun to do. I finally had to stop myself from adding any more. I think I would have continued tweaking my starscapes forever otherwise.
 Most of the accessories we already owned, but the feather we just found this week at Target. It was too perfect to pass up.

This was a really fun project, made even more so since Hunter absolutely loves his Harry Potter hideaway. Quite often, despite the beautiful summer weather outside, I find him curled up in his chair, enjoying a book. That, alone, makes it all worth while. 

I'll be linking up here:
A Bowl Full of Lemons: One Project at a Time
The Shabby Nest
At The Picket Fence: Inspiration Friday
My Romantic Home: Show and Tell Friday

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

What I Wore {On the Rare Occasion I Actually Get Dressed}

I'm afraid my What I Wore Wednesday posts have gone from bad to worse. In fact, you might say {if you're inclined to make lame puns} that this is not so much a What I Wore post, as What a Snore.
It's hot, I've been painting, it's hot: I've got the usual litany of excuses, but I'll spare you from them and get right to business.
My one outfit for the week. I wore this to church on Sunday, but changed as soon as I got home.
{Please excuse the gas can collection in the garage window. Finding a decent backdrop where the neighbors can't see me taking photos is difficult, to say the least.}

Zebra-esque dress: The Dress Barn {a long time ago}
Wedges: Old Navy {also, a long time ago}

WIWW is supposed to motivate stay-at-home moms to get out of their lounge pants and put some effort into their appearance. I guess I could look at my one photo and think "Oh, I'm doing horribly. I only got dressed once this week." 
But I'm a glass-half-full kinda girl, so I choose to think,
"Woo-hoo, I got dressed once this week!"
Heaven knows, I probably wouldn't have without WIWW.

And just for giggles,
This is what most of my WIWW photos look like:

Off center, with various kids and animals in the shot. 
I usually end up taking at least a half dozen shots, just to get one normal one.
What about the rest of you WIWW participants? How many photos do you usually take in order to get one you're willing to post on the internet?

I'll be linking up here:
pleated poppy

Friday, July 13, 2012

Front Hall and Gallery Wall

First impressions: they're important. 
Which is why I wanted my front hall to make a good one.
After we moved in, I concentrated on the big things and neglected this space, despite the fact that it's the first thing guests see when they come in the door.
I finally got around to freshening it up a bit and injecting some personality.
What better way to personalize a space than a gallery wall {or two}?

This is the view from our front door; stairs on the right, living room on the left. kitchen dead ahead.

My approach to a gallery wall is pretty haphazard. I'm not one of those people with the patience for measuring or making a paper grid. That would take time, planning, and forethought; not really my strong points. I just eyeball it till it looks good and go from there. If that means I pound a few extra nails into the wall, so be it. Of course, it also usually means that I spend more time fixing my mistakes than it ever would have taken if I'd planned properly in the first place. But we'll just ignore that, shall we?
Good. Moving on.

 I have a pretty eclectic mix of photos and accessories on display, but the black frames help it all to feel cohesive.

 The "417" represents our wedding anniversary, April 17th.

 I broke the glass and back in this rectangular frame, so I rigged up some clips and twine. 
{Look at that chubby baby down there ~ Hunter at two weeks old!}

I also used scrapbook paper and burlap to add interest and texture.

The man in the moon mirror used to hang in Hunter's room. I think it was a pastel blue at one point, but I spray painted it black to coordinate with the rest of the frames. 

 Each of these photos bring back so many memories. Like the one of Caitlin, above.
She loves her baby doll and used to never leave home without her. Our neighbor snapped this one at a local parade; while other kids scrambled for candy, Caitlin cradled here baby the whole time.

I consider this part of the front hall, though it borders the living room.
It's just inside the front door.
And no, I didn't spell "rules" wrong, it's a play on our last name.

The door to the left is a coat closet; the kids currently use its door as a bulletin board. It's full of notices about missing toys and advertisements for Caitlin's {future} veterinary practice.
Sam guards the front door to make absolutely sure you don't go outside without him.

Looking back from the kitchen.

Our front hall and gallery wall {hopefully} feel warm and welcoming for our visitors. I hope it also reflects the feeling of our entire home; casual, eclectic, and with lots of personality. 
Thanks for stopping by!

I'll be linking up here:
A Bowl Full of Lemons: One Project at a Time
The Shabby Nest
At The Picket Fence: Inspiration Friday
My Romantic Home: Show and Tell Friday