November 27, 2012

Guest Post: Architectural Salvage

Hello again. I'm back today with a great post about repurposing old pieces and incorporating them into your home's decor. Amity really has an eye for antiques. Enjoy!

As you can tell from many of Danna's blog posts, she's a huge advocate of turning something old into something new. It seems as though that runs in the family because, over the past several years, I've developed the same passion for incorporating architectural elements or remnants of larger pieces of furniture into my overall decor. Sometimes those pieces are the main focal point of a room, while other times, I use them as a minor piece of flair. 

I have a couple of pieces of advice when you're looking for architectural pieces. First of all, imperfection is ok. In fact, it's almost encouraged. If you buy two coordinating pieces, they don't have to look exactly alike. If the paint is chipping, it adds character. Secondly, if something strikes your eye but you don't know where in your house you'll put it, buy it anyway. You will always find a place in your house for something you love. My mother gave me that tip years ago and it's never steered me wrong.
I have two sheds in my back yard that weren't emptied by the home's previous owners. Danna and I discovered some hidden gems one Christmas, and just recently, I finally made use of some old mismatched shutters. They were all painted a similar blue/green but were all different styles and sizes. I decided to clean a couple up and hang them above the bed in my guest room. After several attempts and a few choice words between me and my boyfriend, the shutters are now the main focal point in the bedroom. They accompany a canvas photograph I bought at an art auction and a Federal-style mirror finished with pale blue and gold. I also gave three of them to my mom who hung them above the bed in the master bedroom at my parent's lake house. They work vertically or horizontally and can be used as a headboard replacement or hung above the headboard. 
If you recall my first guest post, I have a collection of old bottles in my living room that are displayed on what looks like a mantel. I actually think it's the top of a dining room hutch, but I don't know for sure what the piece of furniture is. All I know is that when I saw it in an antique store in Havana, I knew I had to have it. To be honest, it wasn't in the greatest shape. I reinforced the back of it with a slim piece of wood before hanging it because I certainly didn't want it to fall on anyone sitting in the chair underneath it.
One of my favorite pieces in my house is a Chinese red bench that sits just next to my entrance. I bought it from Southern Chicks in Tallahassee. I can't say enough great things about Bobbi and her handiwork. She made the bench from a headboard and footboard of a twin bed. With just a little imagination and a few extra pieces of support wood, she made an incredible piece of furniture from a hand-me-down bed. 
I have several other little pieces around my house that had different functions in their previous lives. The basket that holds my magazines and throw blankets (next to my couch) used to be a mailman's bicycle basket. The old mailbox that hung on my front porch now hangs in my dining room. Former wrought iron grates with a peacock motif now flank either side of my living room windows. My coffee table is my grandmother's former bedroom cedar chest. 
As you can tell, I try to purchase pieces that have a story or will act as a conversation starter. My goal as a homeowner and decorator is to assemble a mix of old and new that live harmoniously in one space. It'd be terribly boring to spend all of my time at Pottery Barn and no time at Second Hand Sandy's :)

November 15, 2012

Guest Post: Feathers and Leather

Today, Ashlie is sharing with us how to make an amazing dream catcher using supplies from the craft store. I can just see a few of these in a cluster hung from the ceiling in the corner of a room. I might even put a holiday spin on this. Hope you guys enjoy this project, I can't wait to make my own!

The Dream Catcher

According to Native Americans, dreams that humans have while they sleep, are sent by sacred spirits as messages.  According to their Legend, in the center of the Dream Catcher there is a hole.  Good dreams are permitted to reach the sleeper through this hole in the  web.  As for the bad dreams, the web traps them and they disappear at dawn with the first light. For some, they try to determine what messages are being passed onto them and what the message represents. 
Materials (all purchased at Hobby Lobby) 
Assorted Feathers, Bronze Colored Bird Charms,  Black Coated Cording, 
Metal Craft Hoop, Suede Cording, Thick Suede Strips
Start out by securing the cord to the metal hoop and begin weaving or webbing the cord in and out of the hoop. Free hand your cord to see what design you end up with or weave a pattern. The best thing about this project, is that you can't really go wrong. Complete customization. 

Next, wrap the suede cord around the hoop. 
 Once covered, it is time to customize your sweet dream weaver.
I will say that the decoration portion of this project can be a bit tedious, but hopefully the finished product will be well worth it.
I decided to use my new trinket as a festive door hang...
Sweet Dreams are made of Feathers & Leather!

November 14, 2012

Reveal: New Entry Table

I'm so excited to share this reveal with you guys. I've been working on it for some time now, and couldn't be happier with the way it turned out. Especially considering I only shelled out $15 to make this baby mine. She was just begging for an extreme makeover, so that's what I gave her.

Can you believe I found this gem for $15?! There was absolutely no way I could pass it up. When I bought it it looked like this:
I found a gallon of orange paint in the oops section at Home Depot a while back and decided to use it on this project. But after working my paintbrush through all the detailing on the front of the piece, I decided this orange would only serve as the base coat, for two reasons. 1.) I hated how long and labor intensive it was to meticulously paint every groove and 2.) I wasn't loving the color.
So I picked up a couple cans of Rustoleum's Paprika (a beautiful mix between orange and red) spray paint. I started by removing all the hinges and taking off the doors, since I could paint around them when using a brush, but wouldn't be able to spray around them. It only took two cans since I had  the base coat on there beforehand. I just applied light even coats until she was completely covered. After the first coat it looked a little like this:
But after multiple coats, she was a bright shining star. And I was in love. Of course, by this point in my mind, I had already styled her in four different places in my home (as a TV stand, a welcome table in my entry, my new bar, and extra storage in my bedroom).
After I had all the coats on the doors and the body, I applied a top coat of polyurethane. I use Rustoleum for this and always use the brush-on as the spray-on gives a blotchy finish. I can't vouch for other brands because this is what Home Depot, my number one go to store, carries. And a huge shout out thank you to Amanda for the Home Depot gift card, it was used well :).

And here she is in all her glory. Sorry for the terrible photos, the rays of sun that come into the entry spliced up the shot a bit and my second attempt was at night when there was no natural light so the color is definitely reading a little more red in those photos than it actually is. I had so much fun with this project, what do you guys think? Not too shabby for about $25 total!

November 7, 2012

Guest Post: Rustic Caramel Apples

Hey guys, I cannot believe it is already November, and Thanksgiving is right around the corner. Tyler has a great tutorial on candy apples for us, which are a quintessential part of the holidays for me. Hope you enjoy!

Halloween may be over, but fall is in full swing - so I feel like it's still appropriate to enjoy caramel apples...and a few extra viewings of Hocus Pocus :)
Last month, my good friend B hosted an amazing Halloween carnival for her daughter's sixth birthday.  She asked me if I could make some caramel apples and I jumped at the chance.  We decided on two types: a traditional caramel apple with a Butterfinger topping and a candy melt apple with crushed Oreo topping and chocolate drizzle.
B wanted a chic and rustic presentation, so I inserted carved sticks into the apples.  I went with Granny Smith apples for the color and used the following recipe for the caramel apples:
Once I dipped the apples, I set them on wax paper to dry.  Before they were dry, I spooned crushed Butterfinger (I used my food processor for this step) on to the top of the apples. 
After the caramel apples were done, I created my own version of candy melt apples.  I used white candy melts by Wilton (which I purchased at Michael's) and they worked out perfectly. I followed the same process with these apples as I did for the carameled ones (aside from rolling the apples in the crushed Oreo, instead of spooning the topping on).  I drizzled chocolate sauce on a few for extra detail.  I allowed all the apples to set overnight.
Lastly, I bagged each apple individually so that guests could take them as favors (I used cellophane bags and twine to tie them).  I'll be honest, this step was a two person job as the apples easily got stuck to the sides of the bags (thank you to my husband who helped me with this!).  If you aren't using the apples as favors, setting them on a platter is easier and makes for a beautiful presentation.  Enjoy!

November 5, 2012

Guest Post: Home is Wherever I'm With You

I absolutely love this post from Becca, and hope you guys do too. Enjoy!!

I’ve wanted to design a collage above my bed for some time. Luckily, I have an uber talented boyfriend who happens to be an Art Director J Justin is the best at taking my ideas and physically bringing them to fruition while using his keen eye for detail.

For awhile now, I have wanted to use a lyric made famous by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes song, “Home.” Of course, everyone and their mom have put this quote on everything! However, I had faith in Justin and his creative ways, knowing he would put his own spin on it. We got his design printed at Target Copy for $15. For this main focal point, I purchased a framed picture from Goodwill for $5.99, popped the old picture out, and then put the perfectly crafted graphic inside the wooden frame.
Next, I had two small wooden framed paintings that were just not my style. Luckily, I realized these would make something great and saved them from being sold at a yard sale. One day it came to me, silhouette pictures! My grandma has one of my mom and her sisters that I have always loved. Justin mentioned they would be easy to make so we snapped these simple (and unattractive) pictures of ourselves to get a solid profile of our faces. Justin then used Adobe Illustrator to create the silhouettes.
The other items I decided to add to the mix were a golden picture frame from Justin’s family but decided to paint it with Terra Cotta colored acrylic paint. I cut a piece of cardstock in a design that I liked and inserted it into the frame. Also, I found a small, round mirror from Marshall’s for $4.99 that I changed from silver to a gray by painting it with acrylic paint from Jo-Ann Fabrics. 
The final objects I used were a feathered circle I previously purchased from Michael’s, one of my favorite pictures of Justin and me and a metal letter “B.” I bought a circular, white picture frame from Marshall’s for $4.99 then cut a piece of houndstooth cardstock and placed it inside. Now that I had all the pieces, I laid out the items in the design I liked best and began affixing them to the wall using nails and Command Strips. My unifying color palette of gray, terra cotta and wood worked out nicely.
As I am constantly shifting things around in my house, this turns out to be the perfect solution for me since items can be added or swapped out from the eclectic mix whenever I need a change. Sweet dreams to me!