Saturday, September 20, 2014

Shut The Front Door!

The last time you really saw our front door, it looked like this:
In current time, those plants have pretty much bit the dust, and I have removed the paint swatches, but more or less it's still the same tired door. 
Ever since our giant banister makeover we've kept the home improvement projects to a minimum. The Summer was just too busy to really start anything, but now that we've found ourselves back into the routine of another school year, I've been ITCHING to attack something with a hammer or paintbrush. 
I now present Victim A: our front door.
If the nine-month-old paint swatches taped to the outside isn't a big enough clue, I absolutely LOVE a colorful door. I think it gives homes an exciting punch of color that can be just so playful and sharp. Like the perfect shade of lipstick on your face. From day one of living here, I've been in search of the color that shouts "Welcome to the Wellmans!", and guys I believe I have found it! 
Let me introduce you to Crossfire by Olympic, from Lowes. Bright, cheerful, insanely orange, with a slight red hue that makes me think of a giant field of poppies. 
Poppies...poppies will make them sleep.....
This is what we had to work with. 
A lovely reminder of what our foyer walls used to look like. 
First step was to remove the hardware, give it a good sand, and fill any uneven spots with wood filler.
Once the filler was dry, Eric gave it another light sanding, and then primer!
Already this space looked so much better. Finally rid of that horrible leftover brown paint.
Then BAM! Here we are after a first coat of color! 
We tried to keep the door open anytime we were home so it had as much time as possible to dry. 
Every morning when I walk down the stairs I just get so giddy seeing this beauty staring back at me. 
Even with three coats, this only took us a quart of paint, and a weekend to complete. We did update our hardware so the door knob and dead bolt have the same finish, but for as much impact it gives, this was a pretty cheap project. 
I could look at "before and after" pictures for days :) 
PS. Fall is TUESDAY! Anyone else super excited for the change of season? I'm currently sitting on my porch swing in shorts and a tank top, so who knows what the weather will bring us this year. I've decked out my dinning room with leaves and pumpkins already, so crisp Autumn evenings or not, we are totally getting into the season here. 

Monday, September 15, 2014

Shake-n-Bake Projects

I love big projects. All the hard work is extremely satisfying, and the final transformation is almost 99% totally worth the long process. Replanting our lawn, painting our banister, the kitchen cabinets, and any of the trim work have all been majorly long, but majorly satisfying undertakings. 
But as much as I love the gratification from those tasks, there is something to be said about big changes that come in small packages. Shake-n-Bake Projects if you will, super fast and super easy. 
I have been hording these four mini-projects in my back pocket because; A) I just completed two of them this weekend, and B) they were SO EASY it seemed silly to make a whole post about them. 

First up is this adorable blue garden lantern. I spotted this gem at Home Emporium the very beginning of Summer. 
One look, and my nerdy little head instantly went to this: 
A chance to have my own little Tardis? Yes please! 
Like the tag in the picture says, it was priced $50. Even though that's probably about half of what it would be in a department store, it was still a little steep for me, and I sadly walked away :( 
Fast forward to the END of Summer, and all garden lanterns were priced down to $29.99 which resulted in this ending up in my kitchen! 
The only other supply I needed was glass paint. I used Martha Stewart Crafts, Glass Paint, Gloss Opaque in white from Michael's. The fact that it was opaque was very important since it needed to stand out against the blue paint of the lantern. To cure the paint, I placed everything in the oven, set the temp to 350 degrees, and let it bake for 30 minutes (that way the glass/earthenware heated up gradually). After a half hour I turned off the oven and waited until everything completely cooled before removing it. 
Call the Doctor because there is now a tiny Tardis in my yard! 

Project #2 was hands down the easiest upgrade to date. For $0.50, this sweet print wrapped up in all its horrible framed glory was mine. 
A quick transfer to a simple white frame with a matte, and it was ready for it's new debut. 
What isn't to love about a group of flamingos partying in front of a bright pink sky?! 
Cute art in ugly frame - ugly frame + pretty frame = beautiful masterpiece! 
Yes, decorating does involve some math, FOIL that! 
...ok moving on. 

Anyone who visits our home realizes pretty quick that I have a fondness for pineapples. It goes back to my college days, an ongoing game of real-life "spot the pineapple", and all eight seasons of Psych. If you've never watched it, give it a go, it's like Scooby-Doo for adults. 
So when I spied this iron beast at the thrift store I had to have it. 
Downside, rustic country chic is really not my style. 
Cue spray paint! 
 This color is absolutely incredible, I. Am. OBSESSED! 
THAT is more like it! 
Never underestimate the power of spray paint. 

Last is this adorable brass tray. He was looking pretty rough, but I knew with a little TLC he could be spectacular. 
I've read before that a mixture of salt and lemon juice can work as brass polish. Since both of those were in my pantry (aka FREE), I figured I'd give that a go first before going out and buying special brass polish. I mixed the juice and salt in a bowl to create a paste, then just dipped a rag into the solution and went to town. 
After a few moments of vigorous scrubbing I could already tell a world of difference.
Just look at that shine! 
I couldn't believe all of the gorgeous that was hiding underneath that tarnish. 
 Of course I wasted no time finding it a home on our coffee table. 
How incredible is this before and after?! And all it took was a couple ingredients found in the kitchen. 
There you have it! Custom details, a new frame, a fresh bold color, or a bit of polish and elbow grease can breath new life into a tired old piece, and all you need is an afternoon worth of time. 

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

I Seriously Nailed this Gift

Last week was Eric's Birthday. 
I know everyone always complains about how their spouse is "Soo hard to buy for!" but seriously, anytime Eric wants something, he goes on Amazon and orders it himself. Sometimes he tells me, sometime he lets it be a surprise and I just find packages sitting at our doorstep. 
Usually it's the latter. 
Lately though these impromptu arrivals have had a theme, and that theme is; Deck Out the Man Cave. 
Yes I called it the MAN CAVE 
He's won. Whatever.

Luckily! I keep a running Pinterest board of ideas for gifts to give people, especially gifts for Eric. I was inspired by the nail and string art by THIS SHOP on Etsy, and it reminded me of a glorified version of an art project we used to do in elementary school. So I figured it couldn't be that hard, and thought I'd give it a try myself.  

First I picked up one of the 2''x2'' pre-cut boards they have at Menards and painted it white. 
After coming up with my Cincinnati Red's design (see above/ MAN CAVE theme), I printed it out and taped it to my board so I knew where to nail my nails. I tried to evenly space them about a half inch apart, and keep their heights consistent.
Hammering nails is strangely therapeutic. 
Once my outline was complete, I tied some red string to one of the nails and simply started wrapping it around haphazardly. 
There really wasn't a rhyme or reason as to how I wrapped the string, I just tried to evenly cover the space and make sure I used every nail. 
And here is the final result! 
When Eric saw it he thought I'd ordered it online! Then when I told him it was handmade by his lovely wife, his next question was "". 
Pshhs, like this woman couldn't handle some lumber and a bit of hammering. :) 

I love that this easy technique has seemingly endless possibilities how it could be applied. Below are a few examples I found online of different string art applications:
How adorable is this version of the state design! I like how the two different colors of string give more variation, and kind of blend together where the states overlap. (source)
I'm not even sure if this piece uses string at all, but it totally doesn't need it. The nails are so close together they create an incredible line for the type. This would be stunning at a wedding. (source)
This use of the negative space is fantastic. The geometric pattern the string creates is so edgy and modern. (source)
And speaking of negative space! Can you even FATHOM how long this took!!?? Makes me dizzy just thinking about it. Such an incredible statement. If you have the patience to complete this, I bow down to you. (source)

Does anyone else remember making art like this in school? I totally am going to do something else with all of the nails I still have leftover, plus I have string from my rattan chair makeover! Maybe a giant "W" somewhere in the backyard? We do have a fence that I could pound into...hmmmm. 

Saturday, September 6, 2014

It's a Wrap! Rattan Chair Makeover

Can you believe that Summer is practically over? These past few days of upper 90's and high humidity prove it's not leaving without a fight.
Anyhooo, back in the BEGINNING of Summer, this adorable little rattan chair caught my eye on Craigslist. I fell in love with the curved lines of the frame as well as the details on the back, and knew right away it need a home in our backyard. 
$15 later and we had a new chair! 
So I had this idea. 
I really wanted to make this chair pop, give it a little extra attitude. I ALSO wanted to do something with all of the beautiful neon string and cord that you always see at hardware stores.
Aren't those colors just stunning?! Who knew construction string and paracord were so adorable. Once I had an idea what color I wanted to go where, I began wrapping my cord around the back of the chair. I switched between knots and hot glue to help secure everything. 
This part got a bit tedious. After a while, wrapping string around and around and around became pretty boring. Good thing I had The West Wing on Netflix to keep me company. Don't judge, it's a greats show! 
But all that wrapping and hot glue payed off, because now I have a chair that is just bursting with character! Doesn't it make you want to take a seat, relax, and truly enjoy these last days of the Summertime? :) 
Another example of how simple materials and a bit of color can transform something from drab to fab!