Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Sea Shell Photo Frame Project

One of my family's favorite things to do on our annual beach vacation is to go on a sea shell hunt. During our last few beach trips we've had several very successful hunts, and as a result, we've amassed quite a shell collection!  This summer, we spent a few great days at Isle of Palms in South Carolina, which proved to be a treasure trove of beautiful shells!

However, after the latest shell hunt, our collection is getting a little out of hand, so I decided it was time to do something with the shells other than dumping them in my big glass shell jar.

So, to put some of our shells to better use, I decided to get crafty and make a seashell picture frame. (We have a lot of beach photos, too!)  I selected some of the smaller shells from the big shell jar and then rushed out to the craft store. Literally rushed -- what can I say, I was excited to get started!

I found a plain wooden frame (for $5) at Hobby Lobby, which I sprayed with primer.

Once that dried, I arranged the shells in a random pattern on the frame and then glued them down with Sea Shell Glue (also found that at Hobby Lobby - love that place!).

After the glue cured for a day or two, I decided my frame needed to have a more uniform look. Though I love all the natural colors of the shells, I thought it looked a little too 'beach gift shop,' and I can't resist any possible spray paint opportunity. I chose a glossy white paint.

I think the glossy white paint emphasizes the texture of the shells, which is harder to appreciate when the shells are all different colors.

I like the way it turned out so much (and it was such a fun project) that I think I'll make a few more to hang in a grouping on the wall.  It's a great way to capture our special vacation memories!

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Jewelry Chaos Controlled

I have a bit of a mess...

My bad habit of dumping my jewelry in a drawer or all over my dresser, depending on the laziness level of the day, has created quite a frustrating tangle. Though I do tend to be a creature of habit when it comes to the jewelry I wear each day, I still like to change things up every now and then. But since my jewelry mess has grown to such gigantic proportions, it's hard to know what I have, let alone find something new on one of my change-it-up days.  Enough is enough! Time to take control. 

I needed an organization / storage solution, but I didn't want to spend a lot of money - well, I didn't want to spend any money actually, so I decided to use what I had on hand.

I had this bulletin board left over from another project -- easy to do: moulding cut to make a frame or buy a ready-made frame; glue cork to the frame's picture backing or foam core cut to size; spray paint the whole thing black. Easy peasy!

Next, I decided to use these pushpins that I bought to put up my older son's Def Leppard wall hanging. (Yes, my 11 year old is a Def Leppard fan.) I plucked all the black pins from the package and added them to the bulletin board...

Voila! Necklace organization! Now I am able to see what I have, and it's all right within reach. Currently, my creation is sitting precariously on my dresser, but I have plans to hang it on the wall.

Now, I just need to come up with a solution for the earrings, bracelets and rings!

How do you organize / store your jewelry? Feel free to leave a comment below.  And don't forget to become a member of Nest Notes -- just look for the "Join this site" button under Followers on the right side of the page!


Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Dining Room Makeover Plans

My dining room is blah.  It's boring.  Dull.  Quite sad, actually...

See what I mean? Nothing but beige blahness! So... I've decided to freshen it up this fall with a little makeover...

I think I'll start with those boring walls. Since I'm currently completely obsessed with the color teal, I plan to paint a rich dark version of teal above the chair rail (love!) Now that's a dramatic color choice for such a small room, so I'll have to temper all that glorious teal with glossy white paint under the chair rail.  (I have a little DIY idea up my sleeve for a faux panel moulding wainscoting, but that will have to wait for a later post.) I think some simple white curtains hung from a black rod will help to tone down the intense teal, too.  The curtains on my inspiration board are IKEA's Vivan curtains, which are only $9.99 for a PAIR of curtain panels! How amazing is that?! That definitely works with my itty bitty budget. I see an IKEA trip in my future!

I want to add a black and white rug with a graphic pattern (possibly quatrefoil - another love!) for beneath the table, but here's my problem: our cat loves to destroy rugs. I used to have a lovely rug under the dining room table until my precious fur daughter decided to manicure her claws on it and...ahem...test it as a possible litter box replacement.  (Ewww!)  So, I'll have to get creative when it comes to a floor covering.  I've been dying to try this great idea for making my own rug out of a drop cloth (!) from Lindsay. I'm thinking miss kitty won't care to have her way with a painted drop cloth - and I can get exactly what I want. Stay tuned to see how that turns out!

I love the combination of teal, black, yellow and grey, so I'm hoping to find some great fabric in yellow or grey (or both) to cover the chair seats.  I'm thinking an Ikat print.  Ikat is very 'in' right now, but chair seats are easy to recover when it eventually becomes dated -- and we all know it will (one word: Chintz. Enough said). 

My last idea is a big wall collage of black and white (and some all white) plates. I love the example I found for the inspiration board.

But here's my question for you:  Should I paint the table and chairs? If so, what color? I'd love to hear what you think!

I'll keep you posted on my progress!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Small Bathroom Redo

My only hesitation about our current house when we were considering buying it was the bathroom situation. There are plenty of bathrooms, but they are tiny! The master bath is actually an OK size, but the layout is completely wrong with a huge tub and a teeny tiny locker room sized shower. The main guest bath, which is also the bathroom my boys use, is the size of a closet. I'm not sure what the first owner was smoking when he/she went over the plans with the builder. Apparently, bathrooms weren't his/her thing! I can understand if this is an historic or vintage home, but it was built in 2002 for goodness sake! And to make it slightly worse, somewhere a long the way, someone decided it would be a great idea to paint that teensy weensy bathroom dark red, which closed it in even more.
I decided that the dark red had to go. I found a shower curtain that I liked at Target (I think it may have been from their Dwell Studio for Target line -- why isn't that there anymore? Affordable Dwell Studio? Love!) The curtain has large flowers on it, but I figured the gray, charcoal and green colors made it a little more masculine for the boys. Makes sense, right? Sorry boys, Mommy likes what she likes! To open up the tight space visually, I painted wide horizontal stripes on the walls in light gray and cream. What a difference!
I found the BATH letters at Hobby Lobby for around $1 each and painted them green to match the flowers in the curtain. With all the green and gray, it was feeling a little cold, so I added some orange to the edge of the BATH letters and some orange hand soap. (I could not for the life of me find an orange soap dispenser. Luckily, Method makes orange soap in a clear bottle!) I have plans to paint the vanity a charcoal gray and to do something to the linoleum floor.
I took down the one and only towel bar and replaced it with brushed nickel hooks. Can you believe the tissues? Kleenex makes a decorative tissue box that matches my bathroom scheme perfectly (once again, I couldn't find a good tissue box cover). I have a stash of about 5 more of those tissue boxes - I pick one up every time I find one. I guess when finally run out and can't find it anymore, I'll just have to redecorate the bathroom. Fine with me! It's what I do.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Up-Cycle Obsessed

I have 'busy brain,' and I have to say, it's making me a little cuckoo. I have so many crafty, decoratingy ideas spinning around in my head that I just can't get to them all. We've lived in this house for two years now, and I still have yet to decide on and put up window treatments! Did I mention it's making me a little cuckoo? I really need to get on that. That and painting the dining room. Oh and slipcovering that ottoman. And... well, you get the idea. Hopefully, this blog will help me focus in on a few to complete and then share with you. In the mean time, I thought I'd share a few of the projects I actually have completed. Over the past year or so, I've come to love the idea of 'up cycling' old furniture. I get excited at the thought of transforming some sad thrift store piece into something new and stylish. Last year, I got the itch to transform some old dining chairs that my husband and I bought for our first apartment back in the mid-nineties (yes, that was a long time ago!) The chairs were dated, dirty and covered in paint splatters because I used them as my painting 'ladder' for years -- and I painted every room in my old house at least twice!
As you can see, they were a perfect candidate for a makeover. So, I sanded them down, painted them a bright color and added a bird stencil (as you will see on this blog, I have a thing for decorating with bird motifs).
I loved the bright colors and how the bird turned out (that was my favorite part).
The only problem is, I have no place to put them in my house! They'd be so cute in a girl's room (desk chair?) or in a bright, kitschy kitchen, but alas, I have two boys - no girls- and my kitchen is a completely different style (even in its half decorated state). So, the chairs just wouldn't work. For now, my cute little chairs are stuck in the garage again, but at least they're lookin' good! I also up-cycled and old washstand that has been in my family for a few generations. It's, technically, an antique but not a valuable one. It's been painted so many times over the years -- I painted it glossy gray in the'80s when I decided it would be 'totally awesome' to have a grey, yellow and black color scheme in my teenage bedroom. (Did I just date myself there?) It's been that glossy gray ever since - until I needed a nightstand for my guest room. I decided to dig the old gray nightstand out of the garage, too, and give it a new 'totally awesome' life. Here it is with the primer (I didn't remember the before picture until after I'd sanded and primed it):
My guest room has a black, cream and green color scheme, so I decided to paint the nightstand in a glossy black, and I replaced the old, worn ceramic knobs with glass knobs (another love of mine - glass knobs! If I had an older home, I'd have glass door knobs throughout the house!).
I also painted an old, small wicker table with the same black paint for the other side of the bed. I love the way they turned out (I'll post a picture of that room in the near future.) So glad I didn't give all those items to Goodwill as originally planned! Stay tuned for more furniture projects - and yes, there will probably be birds involved! XOXO, Kristen

Thursday, August 23, 2012

New Beginnings

I am starting a new blog! I have another blog (Sticky Notes) where I talk about my experiences as a mother. Now, I've decided to combine my love of blogging/writing with another passion: decorating my house. In this blog, I will be sharing my decorating ideas, projects, inspiration and, basically, whatever comes to mind. So join me while I feather our family nest. I think it will be a fun adventure!