Thursday, March 27, 2014

What I'd Buy on Craigslist This Week - In Dallas!

Hi friends!

Once upon a time I asked some of my Facebook peeps if they'd like to have a post on what I'd buy on Craigslist done in their cities. To my utter shock, people jumped at the offer!

So better late than never, per the request of Heather from Queen of Everything, we are off to the Dallas/Fort Worth area!

1. If you're in the market for a piece to reupholster, but you kind of, well, don't really know what you're doing yet, you need a guinea pig piece. I nominate this one.

Adorable, right? And ten bucks! Get a good staple gun, some cute fabric, and get ready to YouTube your brains out.

You can SO do this. And, as a bonus, I also nominate this cute ottoman/footstool to become your new chair's partner in crime.

And since you asked so nicely, here's my pick for a fabric to upholster them both:

If that doesn't scream "Spring!" I don't know what does. Happy dance!

2. I've never picked a quilt rack before, but this has a few things going for it.

It's got very pretty legs, known as "barley twist" which is something I'd never heard of before Heather said she liked that style of furniture. You've got expensive taste, girl, because everything I found that was called "barley twist" had several zeros behind the list price!  This little gal is only $45, and would make a charming addition to a guest room or family room. It's been painted a bright white, and looks like it's lightly distressed. Hope you like it, Heather!

3. What a great deal on a bright chair! It could be the fact that I'm plotting a redo of my guest room in red and white, and this chair would be perfect, but I just think this is so cute!

It's currently on the Pier1 website for $80, so this, my friends, is a true steal!
Put it in your entry (like this one) for an instant pick-me-up.

4.  Maybe you have an old light fixture you want to switch out.  I think this wicker pendant is adorable, and they are everywhere right now.

Remodelista compared some higher and lower end lights, but even the "steals" out there are no match for the $20 price tag on the Craigslist find! I love the idea of hanging it over the living area like this.

5. I don't yet own any campaign-style furniture, but I sure would love to, one day. And if you would, too, then I suggest scooping up this coffee table for $20.

You can clean it up, and use it as-is. It comes with a glass top, too, which is super nice and prevents you from worrying about spills, etc.
And, you'll get the look of this coffee table, which retails for almost $3000. Yes, there are three zeros in that price tag.

Or you could paint it a bright color, in a lacquer finish, and have a showstopper.

Painted campaign furniture can be such a stunner. 

I love the pops of brass against the colors.

So there you have it. My picks for you crafty, thrifty, awesome Texans out there.  And here's the disclaimer I always feel the need to include in my Craigslist posts.  I've been buying and selling from Craigslist for years. I have yet to have a problem. I always use my common sense. Take a friend or relative with you (especially the large, male type if you have one.) If a piece is small enough, you can ask to meet in a public spot, like a well-lit grocery store parking lot.  Be careful. Be safe.  And have fun.

Hope you've enjoyed this!
If you would like to see more of these kinds of posts, you can catch me at these spots:


Friday, March 21, 2014

Anatomy of a DIY Gallery Wall

Hi friends!

Spring has sprung!!!!
We might be a little too excited about it here. My 5 year old announced on the way to the car this morning that she was so happy "it's summer!" :-) 

Today I want to share a recent home update I took on.  I have been slowly revamping our living room. We have an older, bungalow style home, without a foyer. Our front door opens right into our living room. 

And the wall where our couch sits is the first thing people see when they come to our home.  I had been given a beautiful, large art print which we enjoyed for a while, but I thought it was time for a refresh, and I wanted the space to really speak to us and who we are.

Over several months, I've been collecting items for this gallery. And it just needed one final trip to the home decor/craft store to pick up the last few things to really pull it together and finish it.
It took me a whole day to hang everything. But now that it's complete, I wanted to share how I went about collecting the items, what I looked for, and what I ended up using.

I numbered the things on my wall, and I'll explain each item and why I chose to include it.

Here we go!

1. Portrait of my kids, from a couple of years ago. I love this picture. And it's a close up, which means it's a good option for something at the top of the wall. It shows up from far away. 

2. A print of a geological map of the part of Minnesota where my Father-In-Law was born and raised. I believe I searched eBay for this. It's a link to our family's past, something that's important for us to pass on to our kids.  And it's an easy way to get Papa Mike to start telling stories about when he was young. :-) 

3. Snapshot of the hotel where my husband and I stayed on our trip to Florence, Italy.  It was the most amazing trip of my life, and we went to celebrate our 10th anniversary. Super special.
I put it in a frame with a fancy kind of design on it. I bought two of the exact same frames, for continuity. The next one is used in item 7. I bought them at Hobby Lobby.

4. Plaster-type round empty frame.  I picked this up at Hobby Lobby also. I wasn't totally sure how I was going to incorporate it.  I like it because it's got great texture and is a nice round shape, to break up all the squares and rectangles on the wall.  I ended up using it as a backdrop to hang a small letter T in front of it.  

The letters all came from Hobby Lobby. The black T is a metal piece that hangs from a ribbon.  I hung the frame first, then put a nail right above it to hang the letter. I just played with the things I had bought until I came up with a combination I liked. 

5. Subway art I made myself, with special attractions and things that are unique to this area, where I grew up.  Anyone can do this.  I used a wall hanging that I bought at the thrift store, painted black, and then painted on the words I wanted with white craft paint, freehand. You could stencil words, or make a collage online on a site like

6. Photo of me, my two sisters and my mom, all with our wedding rings on our hand, the day my youngest sister got married.  Very very special to me, and a pretty shot, too. The flowers and hands soften up a wall with a lot of black and white on it. It's a square shape, and kind of smaller, which I liked. My sister gave it to me framed.

7. Another snapshot from our trip to Italy, the day we went out into wine country. Best. Day. Ever. The frame matches the frame in number 3.

8. 3-D letters that are my first initial, an ampersand sign, and my husband's first initial. 

9. Picture of our first dance. We've had this for, well, over ten years now. I believe in keeping your wedding photos out - it's the basis for who we are as a family! It's in a slightly distressed black frame and basic white mat.

10. Original oil painting on canvas, in an old wood frame. This was a gift from a family member, and it also reminds us of Italy.  It brings some color and texture to the gallery. Important to break up the monotone colors.

11. Print of the State of Kentucky, that I got from one of the daily-deals-type sites. I bought it months ago and have just been holding onto it. It's in an old gold-tone frame with scroll designs on it, that came from the thrift store...again, months ago.  You might not think to put a frame like this in with all the black ones. I think it keeps it all fresh and adds to the eclectic vibe I wanted.

12. 3-D letter T, that is covered with burlap on the front. There are three letter T's in this grouping. I wasn't sure if I was going to use them all together, but I grabbed them, and played with it until I liked it.  If you shop somewhere you can return things, I say in this kind of case, buy them, and if you don't like them, return them.  You never know what you might like up on the wall.

13. Photograph of the Calatrava, the unique and beautiful waterfront building in Milwaukee that houses the Milwaukee Art Museum.  Matt's parents live in Milwaukee and this is one of their very favorite places to go.  Matt and I also met in Milwaukee :-) I bought it on Etsy and framed it in a clean, dark wood frame with a white mat.  To be honest, I can't really explain why I chose a brown frame over a black.  I like the tone of the wood, and we have a lot of brown in the house (hardwood floors, leather chair across from this gallery wall) and I think it helps the wall tie in with all that.
I'd highly suggest looking on places like Etsy for art photography from places that are special to you. There are some wonderful options out there, and you can support local artists. Our print came matted for $18.

14. Pair of horseshoe shaped wall hooks. Or at least that's what I think they are. :-) I found these at my favorite thrift store, maybe a year ago. I grabbed them as soon as I saw them.  We live in Kentucky and this is horse country! I have no idea where they came from, but they spoke to me. They're black metal, and they really make a statement, I think. No one has the same pair, that I know of yet!

15. Portrait of my kids from a couple of years ago. I love this picture, that a good friend took. 

16. DIY letter T art with a chevron background. I made this from an old wall hanging we had, that I was done with. Painted it and put our initial in the middle. Free!

17. Portrait of our family. It was taken the same session as the photo in number 15.

There you have it.

Here is what I learned in putting this wall together.

First - start collecting. The more variety of places you can look, the better, thrift shops, yard sales, online, department stores, craft and hobby stores... just keep your eyes open for something that speaks to you. If you like it, grab it.

Second - include some variety into the grouping.  Texture, color, size, shape, medium (i.e. photograph, painting, etc.) This is what keeps the eye interested and moving around the wall.

Third - eclectic doesn't have to mean scatter-brained or completely haphazard, and if you have a little Type A in you, "eclectic" might stress you out a little. Don't let it. You don't have to have one of every kind of frame there is. Repeating a choice is a way to keep the collection feeling cohesive.

Fourth - symmetry. This is just personal preference. There are plenty of ways to arrange your wall. But if you are anxious about how it might turn out, or you prefer a more calm aesthetic, instead of a really random, mismatched group of things, it is perfectly OK to arrange the gallery in a symmetrical fashion. 

If you look at how I laid things out, you can see there is a general balance from one side to another. To that end, a simple way to organize the pieces is to align the pieces in some way.

The three pieces I have in the center of this wall are all about the same width (this was just dumb luck but you could certainly plan it that way. They form a nice, neat column from top to bottom.

The middle row of frames is all aligned with the bottom of my subway art. Everything else sort of filled itself in from there.

After months of collecting, and hours of shopping, planning, and hanging, I finally have a focal feature in the room where people enter my home. It's unique. It's eye-catching. It's US.  And it was SO worth it!

Hope this inspires you.
Let me know if you do a gallery wall of your own!


Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Reviving an Heirloom Rocker

Hi friends!

I recently had a classmate from high school contact me. She was expecting her first baby, and had a rocking chair she wanted refinished.  This is what it looked like when I got it.  It looked like someone had previously stripped it. So it needed a good sanding before I could get started.
 It has this beautiful carved detail on the back, but the carvings are not in wood.  It looked like plaster, or something similar, and had cracks throughout.  I didn't worry too much about the cracks.  I think it added to the charm of this piece.
 I think there have been a lot of babies rocked in this chair.  It was passed down through my client's husband's family.

My client/classmate was not finding out the baby's gender, and wanted a bright, bold color that would work for either a boy or a girl.
We decided to go for a color like Annie Sloan's Emperor's Silk. It's been a long time since I painted anything red.  In fact, it had been long enough that I had somewhat forgotten (OK, really completely forgotten) how HARD red can be!  I wanted to give my local Sherwin Williams a shot. So I chose SW Positive Red in their All Surface Enamel (Acrylic Latex in Satin finish).
Here's what it looked like at first. Uh Oh. Someone forgot to get a tinted primer.
Hi Ho, Hi Ho, it's off to the paint counter I go.
One can of pink primer later (they tinted it as dark as they could - thank you to my trusty old Home Depot paint folks) things were looking better. You can see where I added the primer, on the right side. On the left, you can see how transparent the red went on.  Yikes.
In order to achieve the deep, rich red in this paint, the base has to be translucent. Which means the paint is not opaque.  Which means you have to keep adding coats, and adding coats, and adding coats.
Which is exactly what I did.
So... 17 coats of red paint later.....
Positive Red was actually looking positively great.
I wish I could tell you there was some other way.  I can't speak to other kinds of paint (AS Chalk Paint, etc.) but for regular old latex, that is what you can expect.
LOTS of coats.

I added a coat of wax when I felt the color was even enough.  And here we are.
Now, for the glamour shots.

 I foresee many, many snuggles happening in this chair.
There is something special about the things passed down.
Thank you to my client Jessica for trusting me with this piece.
And best wishes for that little one!