Saturday, October 27, 2012

Mirror, Mirror on the wall...

These are a couple of special pieces displayed on our vanity. The silver tray was my mothers who inherited from her grandmother and the little piece of blue & green art glass was my grandmother's. It's a small piece that I really wanted because it brings back sweet memories from my childhood.

Ready for another peek into my master bath redo on a shoe-string? This is something MANY of you will be able to do yourself. It's a super easy update and not a really new idea.

Master Bath Vanity "before" it's update.

As I mentioned last post, we had a bathroom that was showing some age and hadn't been touched since the builders called it a wrap over 12 years ago. It even still had the "builder beige" on the walls! That was an easy fix with two coats of "Whispering Spring" by Benjamin Moore, a lovely light teal/aqua blue with just enough yellow/green to keep it from feeling cold and icey.

The part I stressed over was the fact that I had a MASSIVE sheet mirror on the wall that would not be easy to remove by myself. Yes, hubby is helpful and very patient with a constantly evolving house, but I do this stuff on my own as much as possible... especially if I decided to do something that he will see no reason for. I mean why would you take down a perfectly good ginormous mirror? Umm... let me count the reasons!

Master Bath mirror and lights after update. Amazing what a little tweaking can do, isn't it?!
Seriously, there are some good aspects to a large mirror. You never fight over who gets to use it and it reflects tons of natural light, making a room fill twice as big. That said, it also looks cheap and dated. The automatic fix was to make a frame. I looked into the cost of Mirror Mate frames, but it still didn't fit into my shoe-string budget. Almost two years ago, I received a miter saw for Christmas from my parents (they know how to make this girl happy!) and one of the things on the immediate To Do list was to make mirror frames. After finishing the cabinet reface on the rental house I renovated last winter, I had leftover trim. I used part of it to make the sides and bottom of the frame (which had mitered corners) and used a simple piece of door casing trim across the top (no mitered cuts at top - just straight and easy). All pieces were primed and painted the same as my trim prior to installation. Then, I simply used Loctite Power Grab to glue it straight onto the mirror! Since the mirror is held on to the wall by metal clips I still have the possibility in the future to take it all out without ruining the drywall.

New towel rings and cabinet hardware in brushed nickel help to finish off the update. Be GONE shiny brass knobs!

This whole project took about two-three hours from start to finish if you include painting, letting it dry and recoating. And, since the only piece I bought was the case moulding that runs across the top, I only spent about $8-$10. A quick, easy, and cheap update that makes a HUGE difference.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Upcycled Vanity Light

                      Source: via Miss B.e.e. on Pinterest 

These were my main inspiration pictures for my master bath redo.

                                             Source: via Miss B.e.e. on Pinterest
This post is the beginning of a few on one of my most recent personal projects. It's only taken me a couple of YEARS to get it finished (and it seems like that long to post about it!), but hey... I'm just happy it's actually done! When we moved into this house, the master bath only had one or two things going for it. It was HUGE, had a nice tub and separate water closet, which is something I like in a house. The rest was, um, builder grade and boring beyond belief.

Master Vanity "Before"

The house was eight years old and the master still had the builder beige on the walls, gold/brass hardware and trim, glass block window, gray & white swirled cultured marble counter top, basic 12" ceramic floor tile, huge sheet glass mirror, cheap builder grade vanity lights and faucets in a mix of satin nickel & brass (!). Fortunately, the former owner had invested in the items that are much harder to update like the whirlpool tub and shower. They aren't what I would pick style-wise if I could start from scratch, but they are good quality and workable. Eventually I'd like to replace the tub with a free-standing floor model and take out the acrylic shower in favor of tile with glass surround. But, those are two very pricey and in-depth renos that may or may not happen any time soon.

                                                     Source: via Miss B.e.e. on Pinterest

In the meantime, I have worked on updating what I could on a tight budget. One of the most recent things was to redo the lighting and that is what I'm sharing today. Here's what I started with:

Vanity Light Before
As  you can see, the lights were pretty basic. They could have been much worse, but I wanted a change from the expected glass globe down lights. Initially, I looked for replacements. I found several I really liked and if you followed me on Pinterest you saw me pinning them. Here's a few I liked:

     Source: via Miss B.e.e. on Pinterest 

                                                         Source: via Miss B.e.e. on Pinterest 

                                                       Source: via Miss B.e.e. on Pinterest

All of these options were still going to run a minimum of $100 each and like I've said before, I'm redoing a house on a super tight budget - one that squeaks! That was a conscious decision on our part for me to be home the kids, so I'm not complaining. They are worth far more than any "pretty" house! That said, I still want my home to look nice so I've become very creative on redoing on a shoe-string, and that creativity was tested to the limit with this project!

After taking down and reinstalling numerous off the shelf options from the local home improvement stores, nothing was working for me. Darn that champaign taste! I knew what I wanted, but couldn't afford it. Then a light bulb went off! One day after starring for "hours" at the old fixtures, it hit me they had a pretty good base shape. It was just the globes and color I hated. Could I recreate a satin/brushed nickel look? I've not liked any out of can options, but decided to experiment. I used both chrome and satin nickel spray paints in layers and got a good match to the existing faucets I was keeping. Bingo!

Now to do something about the glass shades. I wish I could tell you this part was easy, but it wasn't and you won't get a tutorial on this because I'm not sure I'd recommend doing it unless you have help like I did from someone with the right tools and know-how! Long story short, with my dad's help, we took out the medium base sockets and replaced them with candelabras. Goodwill shades found for $1 apiece were wrapped in white organza ribbon and wha-la! I had three light sconces I love for approximately $20 in parts and free labor. Just goes to show, if you are determined enough (read: stubborn) and think hard enough (read: drive yourself & your spouse crazy), you can find a cheap way to reuse more than you ever imagined!

My upcycled vanity lights!

Gotta say, I'm pleased as punch with my "new" vanity lights!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

What a day!

Oops! There I go again. I hear a song in my head but seems like the song goes something along the lines of, "What a day, what a day, what a mighty good day!" ... and "good" is not the word I'd use here. Wait! There's another song hitting me... "Mamma said there'd be days like this..."!

Tired doesn't begin to describe how I feel right now. It's more like exhausted, emotionally drained, etc. The last week has been one of the hardest in my life as a parent. Big Boy decided it was time to end the blessed years of having three boys and no broken bones. While playing soccer with his brothers and dad, he feel backwards and landed on his wrist, breaking it slap in two! I was inside when they came tearing in, his eyes about to pop out of his head, holding his arm and screaming, "I think I just dislocated my wrist!" One look told me dislocated was not the word to use there either. More like BROKEN and positioned in a very unnatural - disturbing way!

Normally, I'm the cool headed one when someone gets hurt. I don't get queasy at the sight of blood or panic. I have always been grateful that I go into automatic mode, thinking quickly and moving fast. But, I think I have now found my tipping point. It's when my own child is in really intense pain. It makes me hurt in a way I can't explain. It must be the mother-child bond. There is nothing worse than seeing your child hurt and not being able to do a thing about it! And a broken bone is just minor thing, relatively speaking.

I think the face he's making says it all (that's ice laying on the top of the splint)! This was the day after.

I digress. I grabbed my purse & shoes while Hubby took over with the other two and headed out the door with Big Boy in tow. That had to be the longest, most nerve wracking trip of my life! Try driving just four miles down a five lane highway with speed limits dropping from 50-45-35, passing THREE police officers and praying I wouldn't get pulled over, all the while trying to keep Big Boy from looking at his wrist or passing out! UGH! Then sit there praying they would simply give him something for pain or knock him out until they could at least get the wrist set. I held it together by a thread until they put him under to set it and he cryed out WHILE UNDER. At that point, I melted. I didn't get sick or pass out. The flood gates just opened and all the medical staff wondered if they were going to be taking care of me next:) I kept thinking, He promises not to put me through more than I can handle. Suck it up and get hold of yourself!

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. (NIV)
Isaiah 41:10

Fortunately, I pulled myself up by the bootstraps and got control almost as quick as I'd lost it. For a change, Hubby was the one the doctor was talking to (once he got there) as I just tried to maintain my composure. I stood there dumbfounded at my new-found lack of control and wondering what had just happened. The doctor just smiled when I commented on it, assuring me it was just because I was "too close to the fire". Big Boy was amazing through it all. He was in in extreme pain, but handled it better that I could have ever imagined! I am so proud of him.

Striking a pose. Oh, yeah. He's cool with is neon orange cast!

Does this picture really need a caption?!

The past week and a half has been tough due to the hard to control pain, lack of sleep, jealousy from the other boys at how much time Mommy has had to spend with Big Boy and two of the three remaining grandmothers each experiencing sudden serious health crisis (another story I'll not burden you with), but I think we may be topping the hill. He woke up this morning without any pain for the first time. The cast went on Friday morning and tomorrow we go back for MORE x-rays to make sure it's healing correctly. I feel like the little engine that could as I keep saying to myself, "I can do this, I can do this". I've GOT to do this, because the hospital medical staff assured me with three boys... this would most likely NOT be my last broken bone! Oh, Dear Lord, if that is true, I'm going to need some supernatural strength from you in the years to come!

Card image via Blogging 'Bout Boys 

The really scary thing is that picture looks eerily familiar to some things I've seen my three doing on the driveway with a skateboard, scooter or bike! Excuse me. I think I'm going to be sick just thinking about it.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Hello, Mrs. Howard!

OMG! (Every time I use that "expression", or what ever it's called, I think of a teenage girl who flips her hair as she rests one hand on her hip she's just thrown out while striking a pose!)

I've admired Phoebe Howard's work for a while, but after thumbing through the pages of her new book "The Joy of Decorating" I'm in love (drooling!).

Want to know why? There's two - no, three - oh, shoot. There's TONS of reasons, but here's a few: she's an amazing southern designer, she's doesn't have a degree in the subject (so inspiring and encouraging), she was a stay-at-home mom who didn't find her calling until her youngest was in school (dito) and she has put together a fantastic book. Her style is slightly more formal than mine (I love to bring in a lot of organic elements to foil the elegant), but it's classic, simple elegance with amazing use of color. Nothing is ever over done.

I simply love her use of color and textures
Source: via Miss B.e.e. on Pinterest

This is a room created by Mrs. Howard's Store, but it perfectly reflects her style and asthetic.
Source: via Miss B.e.e. on Pinterest

Fun, yet classy foyer or hallway.
Source: via Miss B.e.e. on Pinterest

You MUST pick it up and look at it if possible! Better yet, go buy it. This book is worth the money. Being trained in graphic communications and marketing, I have a huge appreciation for a book that is well designed and laid out. I've seen it mentioned on Cote de Texas and other places, but just picked it up at the library on a whim and I'm so glad I did. I can already tell it's going to be one of my "go to" books as soon as I can get my own copy.

You know I'm going to love a room with natural texture and green!

This is one of my current inspiration images for my master bedroom.
Source: via Miss B.e.e. on Pinterest

I would actually enjoy cooking in a kitchen like this!

I've only started. I can't wait to get done with the day's work so I can curl up to actually finish READING a design book instead of just drooling over the pictures! I study a lot of design books, but rarely find one worth really reading. Most of the time I just study the pictures to see what it is that makes them great rooms/projects/works of art. This book is a perfect marriage of both and fabulously thick, which means I will get to spend several days going through it. Best of all? It comes with a color chart of Mrs. Howard's favorite paint colors! My week is now complete:)

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Pink Rose Inspiration

"Pink Lady"
B.E. Photography
Need a little beauty in your life today? Here's some inspiration for you and the paint colors from the "Chip It" app. If I'd hand picked the colors, I think I'd have gone a little more on the peachy side with the pinks - like ballet slippers - and not included the red.

I took this picture not too long ago at the assisted living home where my grandmother lives. I was captivated with the subtle shades of pink so much I took about 20 shots! Needless to say, it took a little to weed through and find the best one. Hope it helps you see life through "rose colored glasses" or inspires you to throw a little pink into your life!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Headed Back

One of my "little" brothers (who towers over me!) had to do something incredibly hard a few days ago. It was probably the hardest thing he's ever done... get on an airplane to go back to war-torn Afghanistan leaving behind his wife and first child - a two week old son, knowing he will miss much of the first year of his life.

My newest nephew.
With God's help, my brother managed to fly in on a cargo plane all the way across the Atlantic to arrive the night before this precious little bundle made his appearance. Talk about God's grace! He's gotten to spend the last two weeks with his new son and wife, but has to go back now for another eight months or so with no leave. If you have children, you can imagine how hard this would be to do!

“The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness” (Lamentations 3:22-23, ESV)

AND, if you've never taken the time to say thank you to our troops who make this sacrifice for our country and our freedoms, then please do so. It's not easy for them. Every word of encouragement and act of support means more than you'll ever know.  For example, when my youngest brother went to meet his older brother at the airport on his return home, he told me how a young boy had walked up, looked at my brother in uniform and said, "Thank you, sir!" That little boy will probably never know how encouraging and uplifting that was to a weary soldier or to the younger brother who observed it.

A proud daddy:)

Our soldiers not only leave the ones they love, but they face daily emotional and physical fatigue in such a dangerous place. It's hard for them, for their immediate and extended family. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt they covet your prayers for their daily lives and safe return home when their job is done.

“But let all who take refuge in you rejoice; let them ever sing for joy, and spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may exult in you. For you bless the righteous, O LORD; you cover him with favor as with a shield” (Psalm 5:11-12)

Friday, August 10, 2012

Deck Spruce-Up

Our "new" deck!

O.k. I've been holding out on you. Over the last few months my posts have really lagged... for a couple of reasons, the biggest of which is that we have been working on some serious projects to share with you when time would allow me to finish them. Once of these was sprucing up our 12 year old deck.

Our poor deck. It was seriously in need of some TLC - or a sledge-hammer. I preferred the second option but once again that irksome budget thing decided to get in my way. Fortunately for us, Hubby works in the building supply industry. Funny thing is, on may occasions over the last few years "Fortunate" is not how we would have described it! Anyway, there is a fairly new product out there called Encore for wood decks and docks. What it does is basically turn your wood deck/dock into a composite encased deck without having to rebuild it! There is a similar product out there that I've seen at Home Depot called Restore, but the big advantage to me of the Encore is you can make it any color you want versus the limited palette of the Restore. Both only work on a deck/dock that is still structurally sound, though. There is a limit to the miracles you can put in a can!

This was our already rough looking deck when we bought the house several years ago:

The problems just continued to grow over the next few years. Everyday life with deep south humidity, trees, three boys, neighborhood kids and a dog didn't help! But, hey... that's what a decks for! So, out came the pressure washer and deck brush. I think Hubby spent more time taking off any peeling stain and "gunk" with our seriously underpowered pressure washer than he did actually painting it.

You can see a distint line here where he'd made it to as he was scrubbing the old off.

One day, Hubby is going to get a heavy duty pressure washer (wink, wink)
that could strip the deck right off the house! No scrubbing required!

This shot really shows how bad the seats and railing were looking. 

Stripped down and ready to go.

This was primarily a hubby project. We both worked on the first coat, but hubby did the second and all the railings. I have to admit, I had my doubts it could turn out this nice, but was pleasantly surprised. It's still not a cheap redo, but compared to replacing a deck, it was pennies on the dollar. Our's had hit the point that something had to be done and it simply couldn't be put off any longer. Structurally it was sound, but some boards were starting to warp and splinter and the stain was long gone. We didn't want any rot to set in so cue the Encore.

This stuff is super thick and dries really quick, so you have to work fast and efficiently (especially in southern heat/sun!). It layers the entire deck surface with a thick gritty composite like coating without the plastic look. No more splinters or even obvious cracks if you put it on thick enough (and put a few hundred wood screw into flatten out warped boards!).

There was a good bit of prep work, as with the garage floor painting, but that is crucial for how well the end product holds up.  In order to get a good color match to the brick, I simply took a scrap piece of brick into Home Depot and had them match the color in Behr (Chocolate Sparkle!) exterior latex gloss (which has the most enamel/toughness) which was then added into the mix to tint it. On the railings, we simply mixed the paint with another product of their's called Polymatrx that extends the life of exterior paint.

So, for few hundred dollars, we have a new looking deck and you have a better idea how I've been passing time! There's more to come, so stay tuned:)

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