Saturday, April 15, 2017

Walmart's Waverly Chalk Paint + Desk With Floating Shelves

We have this little nook in our hallway upstairs outside of all of our bedrooms, and I've thought of a few different ideas of what to do with it.  Reading nook? that would be awesome - some day. For now, we have had a little ikea table set up with our computer on it since we moved in, and so when I saw a free desk with actual storage come up from someone in my neighborhood, I snagged it and knew it would fit perfectly in my nook.  On a whim and since my sister is coming to visit next week, I picked up some chalk paint at Wal-mart so I could actually get a few cute things done around my house. The color I chose was "Moss" and I used white wax on top, and since then I have also painted a table Waverly's "Agave."

 I've only used Annie Sloan chalk paint before, so I definitely was comparing them as I painted my desk.  I haven't done projects in similar colors in each brand, so I won't be able review that, but overall quality and difference I can review.  

As far as wax for the two brands, the difference is night and day.  Annie Sloan's wax is just that - wax. It has the feel of petroleum jelly that you can literally scoop up and wipe around the piece. And ASCP's wax has that smell of chemicals - you know what I mean, the same smell varnish and polyurethane and other protective things have that are anti-water. 

With Waverly's their "wax" is liquid, not wax, and has no chemical smell. Sad. That smell to me tells me my furniture will be protected and the paint will stay in place.  I had to use a paint brush with Waverly and paint some wax on, then use a cloth to rub it all around.  Thankfully when I was all done with the wax of Waverly, it felt smooth and nice and waterproof just like with ASCP, but maybe not quite as nice.  Definitely don't use this wax on something that is going to have a lot of wear on it, or consider using a different top coat entirely. (polycrilic, polyurethane - google it for your particular use and piece)  

For the paint itself, I found them VERY similar.  In fact, Waverly's might have had an even thicker and better texture than Annie Sloan.  Waverly was thick and creamy and was actually enjoyable to paint because it was so easy and the coverage was so amazing.  Annie Sloan's was creamy, but not THAT creamy.  Still great coverage though.  Like both paints are going to give you at least 3 small projects use of just one quart. Don't quote me on that.  I still have to do 2 or 3 coats with each brand, but that's just pretty much par for the course with chalk paint. 

To add a little more storage, we got two 43 inch floating shelves from Ikea.  Normally, I hate open shelving because I have the worst organization skills known to mankind and I don't want that mess to be "open" to the world, but this is far enough out of the way, and we just installed a couple of legit cabinets in the laundry room a few weeks ago, and installing those is not for the faint of heart, which I definitely am, especially since I've been sick this week :/. 

Here's a look at my definitely staged cabinets, hopefully the actual organization will take place soon??? We got the boxes and faux purple plant from Ikea, Nick's Grandpa Allred made the white shelf (so darling) and I found the white framed art at Kirkland's and literally couldn't not buy it (double negative much?) Let me know if you like it and I'll love you forever. 

Thursday, April 6, 2017

3 Dollar Easter Centerpiece + Dollar Store Easter Tablescape

Are you hosting Easter this year? We are having my sister and her family over, so I think this will be the first time I host an Easter dinner, yay! I have no idea what I am going to do for food, which is reason number 401 why I don't have a food blog.  However, I do know how to decorate for a party :)
I had this vague idea of doing a "Easter Tree" for an Easter centerpiece on my table, and have seen some really cute stuff on Pinterest, so when we came upon some crepe myrtle tree trimmings sitting in a friend's yard, I snatched a few up and put them in my trunk.  I knew that the Dollar Tree had some cute Easter stuff in the past, so we headed there to see if anything would work.  I found these bags of glitter eggs in three different shades, and my plan was "hatched" - get it?

I used my white pitcher from target that I purchased a few months back (they are still selling it and it's a great price if you've been wanting one) wrapped with some twine on it, arranged the limbs in it, and then hot glued the eggs on wherever I deemed fit. 

The centerpiece took me 10 minutes of work, and cost 3 dollars.  Boom.  Now that's the kind of project I love.  

As far as the other things in my Easter "tablescape," I purchased square pink plates as a pseudo charger/placemat (and to pile more food onto), and round "Happy Easter" plates to put on top.  

I also purchased 4 white hydrangea bushels and put two each into chalk-painted white mason jars and bought 2 yellow dollar chick centerpieces from the dollar tree too.  I put the extra glitter balls into one of my glass jars for looks and to try to keep them from being spread all over the house by my kids (unsuccessfully).

Happy Easter! Now....what to actually cook???

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Styling Freshly Picked Moccs with Spring Outfits

Our Freshly Picked Moccasins came! Wahoo! The two colors I got were "Flower Power" for Amelia and "Emerald" for Noah from Freshly Picked's new Flower Power line.

For Noah: I was worried Emerald moccs might be too girly, but I was wrong! They go perfectly with lots of his clothes. Also, I just love that Freshly Picked Moccs stay on his feet and that he will actually wear them because Noah LOVES to go shoe-less (second child syndrome).  For Noah's outfit, I headed to Old Navy and found a cute shirt, and then later when Noah hated his shirt we had bought there, we found a couple of t-shirts at Gymboree that we used one of, instead of the original one from Old Navy Noah had deemed uncomfortable. Here are the shirts we bought to add to Noah's wardrobe from Gymboree: (which is the only thing in his wardrobe that isn't a hand-me-down.)  The original shirt was the Chambray one we hoped he would like.

The pants for Noah came from Old Navy, and I love that they are soft! Is it just me or do girls usually get to wear comfy leggings and soft pants and baby boys clothes usually are really hard inflexible pants?  I'm so happy I found lots of stretchy pants somewhere that don't bother Noah. They are called Kangaroo-pocket Slub-knit pants for Toddler Boys, very specific! I also saw they go up to 5T, so I'm excited about that.    Just as a last note about Noah's outfit, I decided to stick to more muted boy colors since we went with such bright colored shoes.  As a general rule for boys, if I pick a color that's usually a color tending to be reserved for girls like say a pink polo shirt, then it's good to stick to mainly boy colors besides that so people don't mistake them for the wrong gender :)

Here's Noah's final look - 

For Amelia: I let her pick her own dress from anything in the store and THANKFULLY it went perfectly with her new Freshly Picked Moccasins! I made the mistake? of telling her that she had flower shoes coming in the mail since Noah's shoes came first, and she asked me 30 times a day if they were here yet for the few days in between our shoes getting here.  So no question she loves her new shoes so much, and it definitely doesn't hurt that they are so comfy.  I'm so glad she chose something that was a solid color so all the glory can go to her cute Flower Power shoes.  We also picked up a 3 dollar headband from Target's dollar section a couple of weeks ago in their Easter Decor/Basket section.

The dress is a little brighter in person and goes perfectly with the shoes. (PS this dress also comes in purple, perfect Easter Dress!) This dress is called Tutu Dress for Toddler Girls, and Amelia calls it her ballerina dress because she's smart like that.  

Here is Amelia in all her Flower Power Spring Glory: 

We went to UNC Charlotte Campus' botanical gardens to get these amazing backdrops in our photos.  When we got there, Amelia said she was "nervous" which is code for "I'm trying to get on your nerves" and refused to cooperate AT ALL! The first 50 shots I took she had a pouty look and was acting like a total 3 year old, so rude right? Finally, she started throwing little rocks into the pond right there and saying it was a sea monster.  I was able to get her to pretend to protect Noah from the sea monster (the hugging shots) and even put on her headband which she had been refusing to wear so she could be protected from this sea monster.  That sea monster was probably the best thing that ever happened to my photography! 

Now, more shots of them together saving each other from the sea monster!
Strong Arms!

Thank you Freshly Picked for helping my kids be so darn cute!

Friday, March 31, 2017

Mantle Decor Tips

The mantle is probably my favorite place in the house to decorate.  When we moved in, our 10 year old home had a big opening where a tube TV was supposed to go, so we Faux shiplapped it as our first home project.  Post on how we did it coming soon... But as far as decor, my decorations are constantly changing and I decorate for all the major holidays as well as for a lot of the parties I've hosted. It's just my thing.  Along the way, I've researched lots of ways to make a mantle visually appealing, and then thrown many of them out the window as well when I just simply liked the way something looked up on my mantle. 

The biggest rule for mantle decorating is: 1 BIG ARTWORK directly in the middle.  In my rental home, I broke this rule and had my SLC Temple picture about 2/3 over instead of the direct middle, with big crystal candlesticks on the other side as well as couple of smaller pictures to balance it out.  

The other biggest rule for decorating a mantle that I actually do try to always follow is BALANCE. You can see I've tried to draw two triangles on either side of my mirror to show that there is balance and the eye isn't really drawn more to one side than the other and there are also things of similar HEIGHT on either side. If you can get a set of two matchy matchy things to put on either side of your mantle to have exact balance and height, then that is awesome, but it just doesn't usually work for me since I buy most of my decor second-hand/don't have that kind of money, the latter being more often the case. 

For holidays and parties, another fun thing to add to a mantle is a BANNER, I've heard it called bunting, swag, garland, whatever. For Amelia's first birthday party, I made a tissue paper tassel garland that was gold pink and white and that was the only decoration in my living room for her party, and it just made it feel like a party in there because it was decorated yet it was simple - so less work for me. 

Within my mantle, I always like to have little VIGNETTES to add interest. 

Another great thing to have that is seriously a no-brainer is a FAMILY PICTURE. Sometimes I get so caught up in my little knick-knacks that I forget this one. But it's where people look when they enter your room because it is the focal point and you want everyone (most importantly your family duh-doy) to know that your family is important.  

If you can add FRESH FLORALS to your mantle, more power to you - you can now call yourself Martha Stewart for the day.  

Now, if we ever decide to mount the TV to our fireplace to be able to rearrange the furniture in my family room how I want it, I plan on finding a thrifted mantle for our bedroom to be able to decorate to my soul's content. Can you plan on finding things thrifting? Probably not, oh well.  My mind is always churning out new decorating ideas to fill my house. 

Hope you enjoyed, now get decorating!

Friday, March 24, 2017

Are You Ready For A Puppy? 5 things you might not have considered

Are you ready for a puppy?

You know how moms get together and all they do is complain about their kids and all their weird quirks and how they get no sleep and how they are sad they have no friends and social life now and then 3 seconds later they turn around and say they wouldn't trade being a mom for the world? Well, same goes for a puppy to a lesser degree. Except mostly they wouldn't trade being a puppy owner for the world because they don't want to be judged and they have guilt and shame and feel they have something to prove to the world. People that don't have those things usually just get rid of the puppy.  So now that I think about it, it's nothing like being a mom.

So, if you are considering getting a dog and your kids are still wee little sprouts, here are 5 things to consider before taking the plunge. And if you already have the puppy, be ready for a wild ride!

1. How old are your kids?

If you have older kids (I'm thinking age 8 and up) that can take the dog on a walk, open the door for the dog, use a commanding voice, pick up dog poo - then getting a puppy will be a lot easier. When your kids are little, the dog will not see them as someone to be respected. Also, little kids aren't tall enough for the dog not to take literally every snack out of their hands if they are walking and eating. They will still play with them hopefully, but they might also ignore them completely too. Luckily my pup has been great about playing with my kids, but mostly he is my dog.

2. 2 words: potty-training

It took training my barely 3 year-old wayyyyyyy less time (by a couple hundred days give or take) than it has taken my toy poodle to get trained. If you are ready to get a dog, be prepared to gate off a section of your house that your dog will be in for anywhere from six months to a year, and in our case, escape from and break down multiple times. This special gate (that won't work) will keep your dog from pooing in all corners of your house every chance that he can get. If your dog is smart, he will try to be sneaky about it instead of just actually learning like a normal human being. Why? Because he's a dog. Now, the trick to potty-training is catching your dog in the act. You can't scold him later, you actually have to be watching him for months on end to make sure he's not going to try to traipse off and poo on your living room rug and so you'll be there to catch him and yell at him and put him outside. Which brings me to...

3. Noise

Yes dogs bark and that's all well and good and very annoying. But... let's not forget the sheer amount of noise out of you (yelling) and your children's mouths (mostly crying) the dog will create. As stated above, you will be yelling at him non-stop to stop pooing, peeing, and otherwise being a nuisance. Be prepared to also yell and throw out many an exasperated sigh while he continually chews off all the Barbie hands, on all the furniture (luckily he hasn't done this one yet in our family), children's faces, arms, feet, etc. at all possible moments. And your kids will happily play with the dog and he will follow them around the backyard and love him and snuggle with him and he will sleep on them, but let's not leave out the amazing amount of times the dog will also make your child cry. He WILL bite them if he is a puppy. Out of play, out of being bothered, accident or not, your children will get bitten by a puppy. Which brings me to...

4. Your marriage

Will getting a puppy destroy your marriage? Probably not. Will you husband blame you every time the dog bites your child? Possibly - Depends on how excited he was in the first place about the idea of getting a dog. If he begged you for 3 hours not to get the dog and then finally accepted his fate, then the likelihood of him blaming you for things the dog did goes up. (Totally NOT speaking from my exact experience here...) Post about the husband being the head of the family coming SOON!

5. Setting yourself up for success with the right kind of house
My friend got a puppy and didn't have a fenced backyard, so her husband had to take the dog on an hour walk every single morning so the dog could do his business. For my dog, I put him in the backyard first thing in the morning, and after a few minutes he's gone to the bathroom and I can let him back in(now that's he's potty-trained). But... we don't have a dog door. This is a HUGE deal. I didn't think so, but I have to think about the dog so much more and his bathroom needs and let him out every couple of hours as a preemptive measure against my house being utterly soiled. This will be something on my list of things I beg Nick for this year. Other things to think about is the amount of carpet in your house, and if you will be able to keep the dog away from peeing on it a hundred thousand times before he gets potty trained (and remember your fences aren't going to work.)Ok... I've done a lot of complaining, some good things that have come of this is that we go on family walks so much more, crumbs are constantly licked off our floor, I have someone to snuggle when my kids are in bed and my lap is always warm. My kids love animals and now won't be scared of other people's pets as they get older. They will learn from a young age how to take care of a dog, and Amelia has already learned how to put Beau out to go potty. There's a bunch more I can name, and I wouldn't trade it for the world! (Wink wink)

Friday, March 17, 2017

Breakfast Nook Level UP

I've finished decorating my breakfast area. This is where the majority of our meals are eaten, and where we spend a lot of our time, so I wanted to make it cute.  The best thing that has happened in this area is that my vertical blinds are gone! To me, vertical blinds scream "rental!!," so I was beyond happy to get rid of them since we own our home now.  I had to have something cover my sliding glass doors because they let in a lot of heat in the summer and a lot of cold in the winter. I have been seeing pins on pinterest and reading articles (like this one) about about how to make a space seem taller and bigger, and floor to ceiling curtains are at the top of the list.  They draw the eye up and make everything seem bright and open.

The tallest curtains most stores sell are 96 inches, which is 8 feet.  Well my ceilings are 9 feet, and I was very close to buying some 96 inch ones, but I decided I really wanted to go all the way (up) on this and do the 9 foot curtains.  I bought upholstery fabric and had some stitch witch on hand (if you love crafting but don't enjoy sewing and have never heard of this, google it and buy it now!) so I made myself some no-sew curtains.  3 hours of ironing later (it seems), and my curtains were ready to hang.  I didn't "hem" the top because I just folded them back until they were just a tiny bit away from the ground and clipped them into the curtain ring clips.  So my curtains were no-sew and no-measure, an imperfectionists dream come true!

Since there was now a huge space between the top of my sliding glass doors and my curtain rod, it was a perfect place for more wall art (this space is absolutely filled with art I realize, but if there's one thing I don't claim to be it's a minimalist.) Anyways, for above my doors I made a "Gather" sign.  I went searching in my garage for the right-sized piece of wood and I found a shelf from my kitchen the previous owner had put in there. So I taped it off to make a separation for a faux-frame and used some Valspar Antique Glaze to make fake wood grain marks and then used some cream paint for the middle part of the sign.  I used my silhouette to cut the "Gather" text in the "Contribute" font.  I found this font for free on Pinterest and it's one of my favorites for sure. I have already done a post on my breakfast buffet here, so there's details on my decor and buffet there.

The Mason jar box I made last weekend at my church's Super Saturday craft day, and all I had to do was stain the box and paint and distress my jars. I'm so lucky! You can find an awesome tutorial for those here.

I found a couple of botanical prints at the Cornelius reStore, probably my favorite store of all time. I think I'm going to do a post of all the things I have purchased there, which is definitely at least one thing in every room of my house.

My dining table my sister-in-law gave to us when we first moved to NC, and it was a deep red wood. Before I had Amelia I reupholstered the chairs, and then last year Nick and I refinished the top and stained it Jacobean brown from Minwax, and painted the bottom and all 6 chairs an off-white color. The chairs and tables get so much use and so much scrubbing they have kind of shabby-chiced themselves.

Last thing - we also found the chandelier at our Habitat for Humanity reStore for 25 dollars :) what used to be there was just... not cute at all.  Now we have so much light as they hold 5 full sized light bulbs! A note about lightbulbs from my mom who is obsessed with having the right kind of light in a room - buy "Reveal" light bulbs.  They come in different wattage, and all of them have been amazing.  Just the perfect mix of warm and cool for any location, and they actually give off enough light (insert hand clap emoji)!


Hopefully in the next few years we will be able to paint this area, but for now I can move on! Happy Day! Here are two more shots :)

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Dining Buffet + Easter Vignette

Here it is! My cute breakfast nook dining buffet.  It used to have a very mid-century modern top, but it's in my garage so I can have a cute place to put all my decor.  Because why would I want to put something practical on there when I can fill it with decorations?? Can you believe Nick picked this color? I didn't like it that much at first, but now I LOVE it! And it's getting more and more in style all the time (think 50's pastel kitchen refab that is going crazy on pinterest right now). The color I used is the only one that looks at all like this at Lowe's in the Valspar section.  I'm so good at giving directions huh? But I can tell you that I used these allen + roth drawer pulls in polished silver, I just love that they are the perfect mix of modern and frilly.  I also bought glass knobs at Lowe's for the two doors. Apparently Rustoleum is way better quality paint, but Valspar has all the pretty colors, whatcha gonna do?

Here is a view of the full wall in my breakfast nook. All the decor was purchased at Kirklands. My sister-in-law Anna painted my beautiful floral "Allred" sign, I made the Easter Bunny paint stick sign (you can find it here,) I painted the Ball jar with white chalk paint then sanded it down to make it shabby, got my tree at Home Goods, my mom gave me the cake stand trio from Deseret Book, and I thrifted the other items. Wouldn't this look even better if the wall behind it was shiplapped (still convincing Nick on that one.) 

Now let's look at all the paintstick bunnies, two of which I made for my sisters. 

Let's look at a couple more pictures just for fun. 

Here is the best I could find of the before - (it was a very deep red wood - totally clashed with my new floors. Actually I think it clashed with everything)

Happy spray-painting! and bunny-making!