Friday, November 28, 2014

Dining Room Hutch Before & After

I finally finished painting my hutch!  Come on and say it with me...Hip Hip Hooray!  Hip Hip Hooray!!

This hutch was a hand-me-down from the same friend who gave me this side table:

I madeover the side table back in April, but held off on starting the hutch because the thought of sanding and prepping a piece this large was just too overwhelming for me.  After re-painting my vanity with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint and seeing how easy the process was, I knew I wanted to re-do my hutch using Chalk Paint too!

This is what the hutch looked like before I put any paint on it:

I don't have a "before" picture of the top piece of the hutch, but you basically get the idea of how dark the wood was.  Overall, the piece was in pretty good condition.  There were only a few dings on the edges of the hutch, but that's to be expected for a piece that's over 20 years old!

Before I applied any paint, I made sure to remove as much of the hardware as I could.  I used goo gone to remove any sticky residue, then wiped down the hutch with a 1:1 alcohol:water mixture to remove any dust and residual dirt.

I started painting in the garage, but when it started raining, we moved the piece into the house and I painted the hutch in my dining room.  If you have ever used Annie Sloan Chalk Paint before, you would know that it is a water-based paint and it doesn't have the typical "paint smell" you would expect from latex paints.

This is a picture of the hutch in progress:

3 coats of paint and 2 coats of wax later...

Here's a close up of the distressing details on the hutch:

The handles were originally more of a brass-y finish, but I dry-brushed Rub 'n Buff in Gold Leaf to get the finish that you see in the pictures above.

Here are some more shots:

I know, I know...I hate my ceiling fan too, but this room is a work in progress...

And just because I started decorating my Christmas tree, I wanted to include those pictures know, just for funsies!

Isn't she gorgeous?  I love this hutch to pieces and, again, I am so thankful to my friend Ben and his family for thinking of me when they wanted to get rid of their hutch and side table.  I feel like this piece adds so much character to an otherwise bare dining room!  Let me know what you think!

This post is linked up to:  A Bowl Full of Lemons Blog, One Project at a Time: 12/2/2014
[Share to Pinterest]

Sunday, November 23, 2014

My Favorite Design Rule to Break contacted me a few months ago to see if I was interested in creating a post about breaking design rules.  Naturally, I said yes because I'd like to believe that I don't strictly follow any design rules and I really like creating mood boards for rooms that I would create if I had a ba-jillion dollars (is that a real number?) and unlimited space!  

Before I show you what I came up with, I want to keep it real and say that Modani is not paying me for this post or any of my opinions.

Modani sent me this graphic as a starting point for rules that they have mentioned on their blog and I must have to agree that the #1 design rule that I love to break is sticking to one style!

I like putting my spaces together organically and accumulating pieces of furniture and decor over time.  I choose pieces that I like and pieces that have character.  I try not to rush into decorating spaces and buying pieces from one place because I don't want my house to look like it came out of so-and-so magazine or look like so-and-so's house.  I want the decor in my home to reflect me and my style.  Isn't that what styling and decorating a home is all about anyways?

Since the holiday season has started and Thanksgiving is only a few days away, I wanted to put together a dining room.

This dining room has traditional and contemporary pieces.  For the most part, the color palette is simple, but the bright kilim rug adds pops of color and breaks up the simplicity of the room.  As far as the hutch goes, I would decorate it with brighter accessories to accentuate the colors of the rug.  I also added gold accents because I looovveee goooolllldddd...Austin Powers anyone?  This dining room incorporates pieces that reflect different design styles but I love that it all goes together and works for me and my personality.  

The next time you put a room together, I recommend not worrying about the "style" of the piece.  Instead, ask yourself if you like the piece and then ask yourself if the piece is "you".  If the answer to both questions is yes, then add it to your collection! What is your favorite design rule to break?

[Share to Pinterest]

Monday, November 17, 2014

What Are You Thankful For? Part 2

Well folks, this is going to be my second post of things I'm thankful for.  Thanksgiving is only a week and a half away! Time is flying by so quickly and I feel like I should start decorating for Christmas now because it'll be here before we know it.  But before Christmas comes, I just wanted to take a little more time to reflect on some of the little things I'm thankful for.

I'm thankful for...

1.  My drive and motivation.  I'm not sure where I get it or where the energy comes from, but I'm so thankful that I always feel like I "have to" succeed.  Yes, this can be tiring sometimes and can also be a self-defeating trait of mine, but I'm so thankful that I have that innate drive to constantly want to be and do better.

2.  My closest friends.  They are real and they are honest.  They are a huge part of my support system and I'm so glad to have met each and everyone of them in the last 7-8 years of my life.

3.  Weekends.  I'm not off of work every weekend, but on the weekends that I'm off I am able to relax and re-charge for the next work-week.  I don't have to worry about time constraints on weekends.  I can spend time with my dogs and my boyfriend without having to worry about work obligations or any deadlines.  I looooovvvveee weekends!

4.  Bloggers and blogs!   I am thankful that blogs exist and there are awesome bloggers out there who are willing to share their passion, thoughts, and pictures.  Reading DIY and home improvement blogs inspired me to attempt the DIY projects I've done on my own house.  Reading A Beautiful Mess's blog post about photography and another about blogging inspired me to start my own blog.

What are you thankful for?  I would love to know!
[Share to Pinterest]

Friday, November 14, 2014

A Quick DIY Recipe Binder

What do I do when I have a day-off from work and I happen to have a terrible migraine?  I lay on my couch, in the dark, and organize my recipe binder, of course!  This is how I quickly put my binder together. 

My recipe binder is a regular A5-sized binder I got from Staples.

I thought about making my own recipe binder cover, but...nah...I mean, I had a migraine, remember?  I had a lot of time to search the web for free, printable recipe binder covers, so I used this one from Paging Supermom.  

I also thought these sites had cool recipe covers too:
Prudent Baby (I used this as my old recipe binder cover)

Although I don't have that many recipes, I organize them into specific sections in this binder so that they are easy to find when I want to reference them.  I also keep my take-out menus in the back pocket of the binder.  This thing is like my "one-stop shop" for food, which is why I love it!

I have my recipe binder divided into 5 different sections:
  • Main Dishes
  • Sides
  • Desserts
  • Slow cooker meals
  • Soups/Salads

I made my own dividers by cutting decorative card stock down to size and using Semikolon sticky tabs as my divider labels.  I laminated the dividers to make sure that they would be easier to clean if I ever spilled anything on them.  

I also use page protectors for each recipe so that I can wipe off any spills.  I don't want to have to re-print a recipe every time one gets dirty or wet.

Most of the recipes in this binder are ones I've found online.  I also have a couple of cookbooks with recipes I really like, but I don't see the point in typing those recipes and placing them in this binder.  To me, the purpose of this binder wasn't to put ALL of my favorite recipes into one spot.  I just wanted to organize my "loose" recipes (recipes I printed from the world wide web) and take-out menus so that I didn't have to go on a hunt every time I wanted to make a certain dish.

If you have a little bit of time in your day and you have recipes in a drawer in your kitchen, I encourage you to put a binder together too!  This project was really simple and quick.  It also didn't cost me a single penny because I already had everything I needed.  With the holidays rolling around, this would also be an awesome way to plan and organize your holiday dinner recipes!  Through my search today, I also found a lot of inspirational recipe binder pictures on Pinterest that would be cool to check out.  Let me know if you put one together!

[Share to Pinterest]

Sunday, November 9, 2014

What Are You Thankful For?!

Oh!  Well, hello November! Where did you come from?

I feel like November just popped up out of nowhere!  With Thanksgiving coming in less than 3 weeks, I wanted to start a mini series of posts about what I'm thankful for.  With a full-time job, a new (to me) house, multiple dogs, and a blog, it's easy for me to lose sight of what I have.  I don't take enough time out of my everyday to reflect and appreciate my life for what it is.  This is also a way for me to share a little more of me with you!

I'm Thankful for...

1.  My 9-5.  I often end up working more than 40 hours a week and my "9-5" isn't always 9 a.m. to 5 p.m..  Sometimes I work from 12:45 p.m. -9:15 p.m. and there was this one time when I worked 22. hours. straight.  I am a health-professional in a retail setting.  I get to deal with insurance issues, angry guests, complaints, addicts...the list goes on and on, but still, I am grateful to have a job.  My job has allowed me to buy every materialistic thing I have.  My job allows me to have a hobby like Life on Elizabeth.  My job allows me to go on vacations.  My job allows me to buy food and pay bills.  So even with all the hectic things that may go on in a pharmacy on a daily basis, I am so very grateful for my job.

2.  My family.  Even though all of my family members live more than a few hours away from me, we are all still very close.  My 2 younger sisters just "get" me.  Their love is truly unconditional and I know they always have my back.  We look out for one another and provide each other with the support and feedback that we all need.

3.  Healthy dogs.  My dogs and I have made numerous vet visits this year for surgeries, allergies, and check-ups.  I am happy and grateful that every member of my pack of 4 is healthy!

4.  Where I live.  For those of you who know where I live, you may be appalled that I actually appreciate the city that I live in, but I do.  I love that I'm not constantly surrounded by the hustle and bustle of typical city-life.  I rarely have to fight traffic, I am not surrounded by high-risers, and I don't have to go on the freeway to commute to work.  These are all little things, but it's always the little things that count.  Right?

5.  My planners.  My planners help keep me on-track and sane.  I use one planner to organize my finances and another planner to organize events, appointments, and blog ideas.  Without my 2 simple planners, I'd totally be lost.  So for that, I am grateful!

That's my list for this week!  What are you grateful for?  Let me know!
[Share to Pinterest]

Saturday, November 8, 2014

DIY Water Color Monogram

I just got home from a baby shower!  The parents-to-be are my closest friends and they are having a little, baby boy.  As a part of their gift, I made this framed monogram with water color details:

These are the supplies you will need:

  • 2 pieces of water color paper
  • Water color pencils or water color paint
  • Paint brush
  • X-acto knife
  • Scissors
  • Picture frame
  • Printer (not required, but recommended)

Here's how I made it:

For starters, I used my water color pencils to color random bold stripes onto my paper.

If you are using regular water color paints, then you can go ahead and directly paint random stripes onto your paper.  Be creative with your patterns!  You can even paint a little picture if you want.

Since I was using water color pencils, I had to use a wet brush to "paint" my stripes.

After painting my stripes, I cut the paper down to size so that it would fit into the 10x8" frame I had bought.  I also made sure to cut my other piece of paper down to size at this point too.

For the cutout of your letter, I recommend printing an outline of the letter in the font you wish to use. For my gift, I knew I wanted to use a capital letter so I spent time looking for the right font and determining the right size.  The font and size are up to you, but my only recommendations are to use fonts that are bold and large enough so that the colors can peek through.  I also recommend printing only the outline of the letter so that you don't waste ink!

I cut the letter "E" with a regular pair of scissors and taped it face-down onto the backside of the other piece of water color paper.

I then used my X-acto knife and a ruler to trace the edges of the letter.  I decided to cut from the backside of the paper because I wanted the front to have crisp, clean edges.  Also, it would be best to have the sharpest X-acto knife possible.  Having a sharp knife gives you better control and also ensures that your lines are clean.

Please don't cut on your wood floors!  This picture is only for demonstration purposes!

After a few minutes of cutting, I ended up with this:

Once you are done cutting out your letter, you can assemble the sheets in the frame to look like this:


That was simple, right?  This monogram isn't only a cute baby shower gift.  You can also make a more fancy, schmancy one by applying gold leaf instead of using water colors and gifting this to an adult.  I definitely want to make a "W" for myself!  Let me know if you try this.  It would be awesome to see yours if you did!

This post is linked up to: DIY Show off
[Share to Pinterest]

Saturday, November 1, 2014

How to Update an Old Vanity!

Hey guys!  Do you want to see how I turned this:

...into ...


I recently bought some Annie Sloan chalk paint in Old White for my dining room hutch and was inspired to makeover my vanity because the painting and waxing process is so easy for chalk paint!  With some chalk paint, a piece of glass, and a new mirror, I was able to completely transform my vanity so that it better suites my current decor and brightens up my office/ makeup room.

The makeover process was actually pretty quick and simple.  I started by clearing off the surface of my vanity and emptying out both drawers.  

As you can see, any kind of skin-colored powder foundation is extra-visible on black surfaces, which is another reason why I wanted to paint this sucker!

I then wiped down the entire vanity, including its legs, with some all-purpose cleaner.  When re-painting any piece of furniture, you want to make sure that your surfaces are clean and free of any dust or dirt.  You want to make sure the paint can "stick" to the surface you're painting.

BAM!  Look at what a little elbow grease and actual cleaning can do!  I could have stopped here and kept on using my vanity as is, but this is a post about a makeover, not cleaning.  Silly!

At this point, I screwed the knobs off of each drawer and started painting with the chalk paint.  No sanding or priming or stripping needed!...Yeah, do you hear that?  That's the sound of angels singing. Singing because Annie Sloan chalk paint is...AMAZING!

This is what the piece looked like after 1 coat of paint:

The coverage was pretty good, but I was a little nervous.  The paint is a thicker consistency and I was afraid that after my second coat, I would still have a bunch of streaky patches.  I wasn't sure why I was nervous.  I mean, nearly everyone who has used Annie Sloan chalk paint has raved about it.  This stuff is supposed to be awesome, right?  So I waited about 2 hours and applied my next coat.

This is what the vanity looked like after the 2nd coat:

The finish was opaque and there was no need for me to paint on another coat.  I was so excited, but nervous at the same time.  Is that all?  Can it really be this easy?

I let the vanity sit overnight just to make sure all layers of paint were dry.  Then I started lightly distressing areas of the vanity where you would normally see signs of wear and tear.  Annie Sloan chalk paint is described as a decorative type of paint that is perfect for distressing and creating that shabby-chic, antique-y look.  

I lightly sanded the edges of the vanity with a 120-grit sanding block to get a nice worn-out look.  I could have gone wild with sanding, but decided to be conservative and keep it to a minimum.  

After sanding and wiping down the surface of the vanity to remove any dust, I applied Annie Sloan Soft Wax in Clear.  I learned that a very teensy, tiny amount of wax goes a loooonggg way.  I used a paint brush to apply my wax then wiped off any excess.  The wipe-off process was the trickiest for me.  I started with regular ol' kitchen paper towels, but they didn't seem to absorb very much of the wax and the paper towels tore to pieces too quickly.  Then, I tried tearing up an old white t-shirt to wipe the wax off, but that sucker had so much lint on it that I started to see little pieces of lint embedded in my wax!  Aggghhh! This is when panic and frustration started to set in.  Did I just ruin my vanity?  Do I have to start over?  Nope.  Like always, I calmed down and figured it out.  My White Rags Paper Cloths by Tool Box Brand were the perfect consistency and had great durability.  There was also zero to no lint on these paper cloths so they were perfect!

I let the wax cure for 3 weeks and then had a piece of glass cut down to size at my local hardware store for about $13.99.  I bought the mirror on a HomeGoods run and the rest is history!

Please let me know what you think of this before and after!  This project is very budget-friendly and totally do-able.  You should try it!...I mean, if you want to, that is.
[Share to Pinterest]