Wednesday, July 23, 2014

A DIY Bridal Shower Gift

Thanks to Design Mom, Gabrielle Blair, for interviewing me on her blog yesterday. If you haven't seen it yet, go check it out!

I went to a bridal shower this past weekend. It was for a girl who used to be in my 4th grade class. Isn't that just crazy?? Bek and I reconnected when she took our family pictures last year. And I was thrilled when I got an invite to her shower. I knew exactly what I was going to give her. Ya see, Bekah is one of those (awesome) people who appreciate thoughtful gifts (as in--gifts that you put thought into). Not everyone does, ya know. A lot of people would prefer a gift card or even cash for a present. Don't get me wrong--I like those kind of gifts too, but I LOVE a well thought-out gift. 

Here's the beautiful bride-to-be at her tea party bridal shower

So Mitch and I got to work putting together this DIY-filled basket of goodies.

I kept thinking: now what are some things that I love but wouldn't necessarily buy for myself? And what are some things that I actually use and love in my kitchen?

Well the very first thing that came to mind were these:

I love my bread boards (read more here). I literally use them everyday. I love that Mitch made them for me and I love how they're propped up against my backsplash so I can pull them out whenever I need them. They look good on display and they're super functional. And the more you use them, the more patina they develop. There's nothing I don't love about my breadboards. 

Here's one of my boards in action: this time used as a plate. I seriously use this thing every day.


If you follow me on Facebook, you saw that last week I went to an auction (actually a couple of them). I ended up getting a big pile of wood for $10. Among some of the boards was a piece of walnut. I was really excited when I saw it (and Mitch was too) and couldn't wait for him to turn it into a bread board or two. Which, later the next day, he did. He made two boards out of the piece. It worked out perfectly since the width of the board was just wide enough that Mitch didn't cut anything off the sides. He just cut out for the handles. Here are the two boards. One is stained with mineral oil and the other is left untreated (I will be using mineral oil on that one as well...just wanted to show you how much color the oil brings out). 

The other board he made (not sure what the wood is) is a bit wider. It's the same size and from the same board as one he made me for Christmas a couple years ago. It's a great size for making a couple sandwiches on (i.e. perfect for newlyweds).

Some other things that were in the basket--Mrs. Meyer's products. They smell wonderful.

These are bamboo spoons I got at Target but I wanted to make them more unique, so I dipped the handles in paint then sealed the paint with wipe-on poly, to prevent chipping.

Once I had everything in the basket, I covered it with a vintage embroidered cloth.

So if this were something you wanted to try, here's a couple things to remember:

1. Know the person you're gifting. If they don't have an appreciation for handmade/vintage items, stick with a gift card or something straight off their're better off.

2. Be creative! Think outside the normal bridal shower box and think about things that you use on a daily basis/things you love, hand-crafted items. Putting thought into gift giving means a lot to (some) people.

3. Have fun with it! If you love the gift/presentation, you'll be excited to see the receiver open it. It was fun watching Bekah open her present 'cause I knew it was totally "her." 

Now get out there and get your shower on! 
Wait...that didn't come out right...

For more pictures of Bekah's shower, go to her blog here. (Also, check out her work while you're there...she's pretty dang incredible behind that lens!)

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Reduce, Reuse, Reupholster

So about two and a half years ago (according to this post), I was driving in my Nissan Maxima (in the rain) and spotted some chairs alongside the road. This means only one thing: they had done their duty, served their purpose. It was time for furniture heaven (aka the landfill). By the look of the chairs sitting out in the rain, it was high time (probably past time) to put these puppies to rest. That's what some people would think, at least. Not me. What I saw was a pair (seriously, how often does that happen?) of antique chairs that had great shape to them, cute wooden legs, and shoot, they were free.

Do you see what I saw?? POTENTIAL, baby! Mitch rolled his eyes as I trucked these puppies back to our house, storing them in our basement for the last two and a half years. Others laughed...thought I was crazy (seriously go read some of the comments on this post)(sorry...some of the inspiration pics aren't showing up). But others (some long-time readers who get me and are as crazy as I am) knew I had a couple diamonds in the rough on my hands.

Well the day came (a couple months ago) when I dropped these puppies off at the upholstery farm (same lady who did Finn's chair). Yes, my upholsterer lives on a farm and yes, I have a farm for pretty much everything I could possibly need/want. It's similar to having a genie in a bottle. And we just picked up those same chairs yesterday from the farm. They're done. So can I just show you those "ugly" chairs now?? They're hanging out in our living room.

One detail that I LOVE is the contrasting piping. EEK! Details like this make me smile.

They look a little different, huh??

I got the light blue velvet fabric at a fabric outlet a few years ago. I loved its soft color. Didn't have a project in mind for it then, but I'm glad I bought it when I saw it. I ended up not having enough of it to reupholster both chairs, but when I was talking with my upholsterer she said she had some stuff she was wanting to get rid of. And she pulled out the vibrant floral fabric. It's called Silsila Curry by Braemore Textiles. I knew as soon as I saw it that it would compliment my blue fabric perfectly. My upholsterer gave me the fabric. As in--it was free. Then the angels sang. It felt like Christmas morning. 

It ended up costing about $150 per chair to get reupholstered (which is a really good price). I'm so excited to have a pair of antique chairs that I saved from the landfill. Seriously, isn't it cool to give something that looks like crap a second chance at life?? 

There's an ottoman for our bedroom that we got reupholstered too...I'll show you that soon!

Wilbur Chocolate Giveaway

Good morning, guys! Just wanted to give you a head's up about a giveaway going on RIGHT NOW over on Maple Leaves & Sycamore Trees' Facebook page. Go over and check it out and enter for a chance to win this deliciousness:

Wilbur Buds (AKA the best chocolate that ever passed your lips)

What are you waiting for? This is CHOCOLATE we're talking about! Get goin'!!

Monday, July 14, 2014

Summer Mantel

Hey guys! Just dropping in today to show you my summer mantel. Well, I call it my mantel, but it's really just a shelf that I bought at a yard sale a few years back (for $5!). I like to think of it as my mantel 'cause I dress it up like one. I like changing it up according to the seasons. So here she is--all decked out in greens and blues--a very summery look if you ask me.

The old glass insulators add a fun touch and some more of that watery blue-ish green color. (they're actually my neighbors' and they're for sale, so if you're interested--shoot me an email)

The woven demijohns add some nice texture, as do the antlers. Gotta have antlers in there... :)

Thanks for dropping by today. Hope you're enjoying your summer. The boys are currently outside setting up this contraption. (looks like Bryce is trying to suck out the last drop of water from the nozzle)

Happy Monday.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Laundry/Mudroom Reveal

We finally got around to finishing up our laundry/mudroom. Well...if I were completely honest, there are still a couple things (adding some trim & painting) left to do yet so we can't completely check off this area just yet. But I thought you guys would enjoy seeing it anyway. It's come a long way, baby.

This is where we started--remember our renovation included converting our two-car garage into more living space. That Craftsman-style door was added and brings you into our mudroom.

Here was the inside after Mitch framed it all, added plumbing for the washer, and added the electrical lines. (There's the backside of our mudroom door.)

And this is where we added the mudroom closet.

Now this is what everything looks like:

Right from the get-go I wanted wood planks on the wall for durability's sake (plus I love the way they look). There's no way a hole is going to happen in this wall. Not even a steel-tipped boot (which Mitch wears to work) could do that. And with three boys, durability is always a top priority. Planks are painted in Behr Swiss Coffee in semi-gloss finish.

Since we were limited with square footage, we needed this space to be multi-functional. What was needed was a place for shoe/coat storage, a small entry table, "hidden" storage in the form of a closet, and also it had to function as our "laundry room." Well I can proudly say--this space does it all. (read more about the entry table makeover here)

The little entry table houses a collection of eclectic decorative pieces that change with the seasons and also functions as my charging station for my phone. I recently framed an envelope that had beautiful handwriting on it (our name and address). It was from a wedding invitation and was too pretty to throw away, so now it lives in a frame on our entry table.

I picked up this sweet cross-stitched picture last weekend while out thrifting. This purchase is what kicked the whole "let's finish 'er up" into gear. I decided to do a little gallery wall here in the entry with other items I had around.

I initially had this generic "home" saying written on the chalkboard, but it didn't feel right so I changed it. Not that there's anything wrong with that particular saying, but I love making things personal in a space, ya know? Decorate with things you love, even sweet/funny quotes from family members.

Fresh flowers always put a smile on my face. These are from our own yard. I'm determined to use flowers more in my home this summer. They're too beautiful just to be admired in your garden...bring them inside and enjoy them throughout your day! 

Okay, so getting back to the functionality of this space: here is one of our "storage areas." Of course having an entry means having a dumping ground for "stuff" somewhere. If you have a designated spot to dump stuff, the less visual clutter there is. I picked up this piece of driftwood a couple summers ago on Block Island. Mitch added the Pottery Barn number hooks to it and now we have a place for the boys to hang their hats. Or lanterns...cause you know how important it is to have a place for your lantern. Okay, whatever, so I styled up the place a tad for the photos;)

And this bigger coat rack Mitch made out of a cool piece of lumber that was on a pallet he took apart. As soon as I saw this weathered board, I knew I wanted to put it to good use. So we got some hooks from IKEA and Mitch attached them to the board. Love it.

There's also one other key element on that side of the room: our chicken nesting boxes. I saw this puppy for sale alongside the road months ago, and knew I needed it. It was just too cool to pass up. And I knew exactly what I was going to use it for too: shoe storage. It's perfect. Prior to this, we had a small bench in this area that the boys never used to put on their shoes. And under the bench was a metal basket in which to throw shoes. Well the thing was always overflowing. So now, each person has his/her cubby where they can throw their shoes. It's perfect. I added some chalkboard sticker labels to the front of each one.

And it's the perfect size, as demonstrated by my model here. Now there's no excuse for the boys to not put their shoes away. (BTW, Finn is really good at putting shoes away now. He even knows which shoes go in which cubbies.)

Now flipping over to the other side--the "laundry room" side. There's the closet that's filled with shelves, baskets, and all things storage. And the laundry sink, which is a necessity in this house. We have a little stool pulled up to it for the boys to wash their hands when they come in from outside. I've been known to bathe a kid or two in there as well. It's a workhorse, for sure. From washing hands, filling up buckets, to rinsing out paint brushes--this sink does it all. The light is from Pottery Barn and I scored it on major clearance at the Outlet years ago. Mitch got the green bench (which was previously used under the coat rack) for me for Christmas a couple years ago. It's now downstairs...I just used it here for staging purposes:)

Now moving on to the washer/dryer situation. So...when you're designing a room in your house that's non-existent (remember--we came up with the layout and placement of everything in here), it's easy to overlook little details. But to me, the little details speak volumes. And we really failed when it came to the location of the washer/dryer plumbing & electrical--we put the hookups right in the middle of the wall. And all I could ever see when I looked over there were those darn things glaring back at me. I hated it. Let me show ya.

See? Not pretty. But it wasn't an option to relocate them since Mitch had already tiled that wall. So I thought and thought about what we could do to "hide" those eyesores. It had to be something that could be easily moved so we could access those pipes/ we made a sign. 

Let me tell you the story about this here sign. One day a couple months ago, I overheard Mitch talking to Ryder about bullies at school. And he went on to say, "Don't worry, Ryder, someday you'll be much bigger than those kids." (side note: Mitch is 6'11" for those who don't know, so my boys are going to be BIG boys) He went on to tell Ryder that even though he will be bigger than the other kids, he needs to treat people kindly and be like Jesus to them. He said,
"Use your bigness for good."

I thought it was great advice and told Mitch later that I'd love to make a sign with those words on it. It's a great reminder to us all as we're walking out the door--be kind to those around you, stand up for what's right, use your bigness for good.

And really I think it's a great lesson for anyone--use whatever your strength is, for good. Girls, use your beauty for good. Are you an Einstein? Then use your smarts for good. Artistic? Use that for good by painting something beautiful (as opposed to something evil). Are you a kick-butt baker? Bake something for someone who is lonely, sad, or new to the area. Use your butter, sugar, and eggs for good! Even things that could be a weakness--like anger--use it for good by being passionate about an injustice or wrong. So what's your fill-in-the-blank? Make a sign to remind yourself to use it for good!

Okay, my mini sermon is over:)

This is the view from our dining area (which is also open to the kitchen). It's my view most of the day.

And that's about it, folks! Thanks for coming along on the tour of our mudroom. Hope you enjoyed it. 

Inside of door painted Benjamin Moore Dragon's Breath. 
Runner from Crate&Barrel (it's currently on sale now!)

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