Tuesday, February 17, 2015

DIY Spring Wreath Inspiration

It is really flipping cold in Michigan. Negative temperatures abound, and today I have to go out in them in a *LEOTARD* because it's dance day.
Let's all take a moment and say a prayer for a full tank of gas, because if I have to pump with a tights-covered booty in this weather my brain will explode.
Ok, so indulge me. We're doing some early Spring decor in order to make the snow and frigid temperatures seem less real. Plus it's a great reminder that we're almost through the crazy.
kind of.
Also, my front door is so much happier with a wreath! And the Christmas wreaths all had to come down.
In this post there are about a zillion simple wreath layouts. If you've never made one before and feel a little unclear about it at the end of the post, you may want to check out one of my Christmas Wreaths for a little more clarity. But those are clearly wintery and I can barely even bring myself to link them. NO MORE SNOW!
Some simple supplies from Michaels, the wreath was $4.99, "welcome sign" came from their dollar section, the wooden letters are $1.49 and the blooms were $6.99. Everything was on sale,  so in the end I paid less than $15 for all of it.
Remember to bring coupons, and to wait for stems to be half off.
I removed the heads of the blooms from their stem by first cutting through the plastic with scissors and then using a wire cutter on the center. Remove the leaves as well (if you're using them) and band them together with a little floral wire.
This is now my base wreath. Floral wire wraps around the flowers and attaches them to the wreath. Alternatively you can use a glue gun, but I don't think those hold up too well on outdoor projects.

After you have the base done (or before, if you aren't certain about any aspects), start playing with your different components. The pieces in the center were intended to possibly be hung with ribbons or wire, the pieces on the wreath would be hot glued.
I wanted a little shimmer on my wreath, so I added some Tulip Fabric Spray glitter. Originally it was only going on the leaves and flowers, but I ended up doing the entire wreath.
Hurrah glitter!
You can also use regular glitter spray paint. 
Above, I hot glued the "welcome" sign into the top of the wreath. And there's a close up of the shimmer since it doesn't show too well on camera. 
After my wreath was done, I removed the welcome sign to play around with the K instead. In the process I broke the sign, so that was probably a bad idea.
For more uses with a letter, use a small drill bit to add a little hole on the top. Thread it with floral wire (or ribbon) and you can hang your monogram. This works a million times better with symmetrical letters, the K doesn't hang very well.  
 Floral wired into the side of the wreath, resting on it as well.
 Floral wired to the actual wreath holder rather than the wreath. I thought this hid the wiring better.
Floral wired to one of the blooms, but you could actually just glue it in this instance. Though the wire holds up better.
I'm clearly going to have to repair my welcome sign now so that I can put this bad boy back up. Or else, come up with a new scheme! This one is super girly and the flowers were MUCH larger than I intended them to be, so there will be a new (less feminine) wreath in the summer. My poor spouse.
I hope you're having a wonderful finish to your winter! All the best, and as always, thanks for reading!

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Place Mats, Blanket Holders and Kitchen Racks- Oh My!

So... here are a million little things!
I'm almost done with the kitchen (down to counter tops!) and ballet studio (just a few more accents!) and then those will be post-able. When we moved in, I thought everything would be ready in a month- tops. Isn't that cute? Such a little blind optimist.
Anyway- these big projects are consuming all free time, but here are a million little things I've done around the house in the last couple of weeks. Or so.
1. Place mats

Ok, so we needed place mats and for some reason rectangular or square place mats just don't do it for me. I found these super cute striped mats at IKEA for  $1.49 each. And guess what? They're easily cut-able. A giant lid for a hatbox, sharpie and kitchen shears did the job in less than 2 minutes. They have a wide selection of colors, and I thought this could be a fun project to get any shape you'd prefer. Say- hearts for Valentine's Day? Or perhaps just something fun for the little people in your life. You can always use a projector to trace any shape you'd like on to the mat and then cut them, or use a stencil... or some other object around the house like I did.
Along the same lines- I recently realized we didn't have any cake circles to use for my niece's birthday cakes. I had to transport them by car to her party a few hours away and really needed cake circles for the job. Using an upside down cake pan traced on to cardboard (we always keep good cardboard here!) and covered with aluminum foil (because cleanliness!) worked well. Done!

2. Blanket Rack
Ok. I am anti pallet furniture. It's so true. I hate it. But we needed something to hold blankets and blanket ladders are kind of expensive considering how little goes into them. But... we had a free pallet, and it was of the SAFE VARIETY so it was the best option. We sawed it in half (or rather, my super awesome cousin Gabe did!) to get the proper shape first.
Then we knocked off a couple extra boards with a hammer  to make it more ladder-esque. Can you tell that I'm trying to hide my super ugly basement? Michigan in the winter is NOT a good time to do projects like this. You have to do them indoors... and hide your ugly basement. One thing at a time, and the basement is definitely last priority.
And painted it white.
And lastly, glued some rug-stop matting around the rungs because they were really sharp and would chew up our blankets.
I like it- but I'm toying with the idea of using it on our garden instead, so you may see it there in the Spring :)

3. Kitchen Racks
These are also from IKEA. We have three of these racks, and purchased them 5 years ago. They were ridiculously cheap ($15, I think) and so convenient. However, they're all a really standard dark gray which was depressing in our kitchen. I spray painted them a metallic silver (Rustoleum brand) and they look a million times better and happier in the kitchen now! I don't have a before picture because... ew. But trust me. Much better.
I just looked at the website and apparently they don't sell these anymore. So sad! I bet they're lying around in millions of households looking really ugly and dark though. So perk them up!
PS- do you see the little wall plaque? It was a Valentine's Project last year,  and still makes me happy to look at. We do marriage well in our family!
I've been posting little things on my IG account (aunak) and our Facebook page more often than the actual blog due to the content. So make sure to follow along there for more of what's happening on a smaller scale :)
All the best, and as always, thanks for reading!

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

DIY Ugly Sconce Update

Along the same vein as the chandelier, we had some super ugly sconce lights on two walls in the house that we couldn't remove.
We tried.
It would have taken a lot more work (and money) than we were willing to put in, so we just updated them to make them more bearable. One was above John's desk and the other was in my ballet studio. We striped both of the walls black and white, so it may LOOK like the same wall, but it isn't :)
Also, apparently I deleted half of the photos off my camera between the time I did this (last month) and now. Oops. But you're all a very smart bunch and you really don't *need* pictures of the painting process, but if you want to see something similar, check out the CHANDELIER post. Sound good? Ok.
Here's John's first...
Check out the fluting on that baby. Reminiscent of a 90 year old women in the early 1920's, no? First, we used a $3.99 can of Rustoleum's UltraCover paint that works wonders on metal surfaces. It took about 2-3 coats for each of the sconces. Then we removed the fluted sconce cover and replaced the bulb.
And here's the after! We originally picked out a globe scone cover for John's, but it wouldn't fit against the wall. Afterwards he decided he would rather get an Edison style lightbulb instead and leave it uncovered. I'd like to find him a larger Edison bulb so that it's a bit more balanced, but here we are.
So there it is- much more masculine than the original and better suited to his minimalist desk. 
And here is mine. I can't even. There are no words to match my dismay when we discovered just how attached this sconce was to the wall. We're talking extreme measures. Someone *really* loved this fixture.
I twisted off the decorative bulb at the bottom (hallelujah, praise the Lord!) and then painted it as well. We didn't realize the bottom decoration could be twisted off, so that was an extremely pleasant surprise and helped immensely right out of the gate.
My sconce cover is also from Lowe's and DID fit. I think it was about $7, so the total overhaul was much cheaper than we had originally expected. I still don't love them on the walls, but since they aren't going anywhere, the updates helped. If you're stuck with ugly sconces, don't despair! A little paint, some updated (or removed) covers and you'll be much better off. 
Or you could always use them for a coatrack ;) 

Thursday, December 11, 2014

DIY Chandelier Overhaul

Ok. I am so excited about this.
We recently purchased a house and it's wonderfully, beautifully old with tons of character.
But some of that character is not exactly something we want in our home.
This is really evident when it comes to light fixtures. We absolutely HATED the wall sconces in the house (which we can't get rid of, but have refashioned and will feature later) and the chandelier which was front and center as soon as guests walked through the door.
However, changing out the light fixtures were really last priority since so many other things in the old house needed money thrown at them first. On a whim- as a result of the makeover to our sconces- I decided to try helping out our chandelier and I am SO STINKING GLAD. While we still may put a new chandelier in down the road, this updated version helps make the interim so much more bearable. If you've got a super ugly chandelier like the above in your house- never fear! We updated ours for $11 and it looks like a completely different beast.
So much ugly.
After cleaning it, I painted the fixture with Rustoleum's UltraCover ($3.99- Meijer).  The name is legit. It seriously covers everything. For solid color, you'll need three coats. If you want a little of the original metal peeking through, just one or two. We went with three coats in most areas and two in others, some gold showing through was nice since we do have a lot of gold in the room. Make sure to let the paint dry between coats (it goes quickly) and really lay the coat on heavily for great coverage.
Ta da! I took the covers off the chandelier to replace them (Lowes, Home Depot, Menards... they all sell replacement glass), but liked it better without anything, so we opted to let the bulbs shine out! You can always trade the bulbs out for something frosted to keep the light from burning your retinas. Also,  John had to paint that top part for me because it was too high up... so... it's black in the final shots :)
It already looked a million times better, but I wanted it to look more complete, so I ordered some beads from AMAZON. These were $6.99 for 6 feet. I may go back and add more later, too. Separate the strands into the desired length (they have rings similar to key rings, so it's easily done by hand without tools). Mine were 13 inches each, but play with the length and see how deeply you want your strands to dip. Also, you will have to separate a couple of extra rings off of excess beads to use for attaching. Each strand needs a ring on both ends.
Attach the strands to your chandelier. Mine had holes at the top and base pieces- perhaps it had already contained beading before. If not, you'll have to use a soldering gun or E6000 glue.
The end! Soooo much better than the original, and it blends in with the rest of the black and white decor. And for practically nothing! It feels great to check that off my list (or happily put in on the back burner) with so many other projects that need attention.
P.S.- the entire  project took less than an hour,  and I didn't even need to take the chandelier down from the ceiling.
A lazy girl's dream.