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:)

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Garage Door Reveal

My "New" garage/side entry door. The door was painted Rust-o-leum Gloss Oil Black, a simple steel door
decoration was bought at Hobby Lobby, spraypainted white, then hung with neodymium (i.e. really strong)
magnets to the steel door. No screws, glue or hardware required! 
At long last, I have some pictures to show you of the rest of my garage redo. When I showed you my interior redo, I told you I still had some things to show you about the outside, but that the weather wasn't permitting me to get any shots in to share with you. Now, um...lets see...probably a MONTH later, I finally have some. Crazy how time can fly when you're busy!

Anyhoo, let's see those before and after shots, shall we?

Before - and Oh, so blah! Builder basic all the way.  I still plan to repaint the hanging light fixtures,
but I have to do things as time allows (i.e. when school is back in session!).

 Like my "New" garage door?
 I have to tell you, when my sister-in-law drove up the other day and exclaimed "You got a new garage door!" I couldn't have been more pleased:). Bingo! My old garage door has morphed into a set of carriage doors at a total cost of about $5.00 and some elbow grease. Can't beat that!

Up close view of the upper "hinges".
 In order to create the illusion, I did a little research on options and found I could one of three things to get the more custom look of carriage doors without actually buying them.

1. Order faux metal hinges and handles to screw onto the door,
2. Order magnetic metal faux hinges to just stick on the door,
3. Make a stencil and paint them on.

Up close shot of the lower "hinges".
 I knew Hubby would flip if I painted or screwed on "hinges and handles" to the door, so it looked like the magnetic option was for me. Then I looked at the price on Ebay. It's actually really economical, BUT still not within my budget for now. So, I started looking for another option. Surely I could find a cheaper, albeit not as realistic as the magnetic, way to get the look for now.

View of the center of the door with it's new "handles" and "crack" between the "two" carriage doors.
Enter a trip to Lowe's. I love to stroll down the aisles at my home improvement stores brainstorming. I challenge myself to come up with as many out of the box uses for everyday items as I can - all for the sake of getting the luxe look of items I want but can't afford. Truthfully, it's really more of a creative outlet and to see if I can overcome the challenge.

Up close view of the new carriage door "handles".
When I stumbled upon a roll of contact paper with a mottled black and gray appearance, it suddenly hit me. Just draw the hinges and handles on that, cut them out and stick them on! How much easier and cheaper can you get?! I came home, found some hinges and handles I liked on-line, printed out the image, blew it up on the printer, then traced them onto the contact paper and cut them out. Before applying them, I pressure washed the whole door throughly, then just stuck them on. The center where the two doors meet is just a long skinny strip cut off the edge or the roll. To create a little more of a realistic look on the handles, I took some metallic silver paint and lightly dry brushed some where the handles would curve and onto the shadow part of the handle that I made sure to cut out WITH the main part. Illusion complete! It apparently is good enough that, without really close inspection, you don't even realize it's contact paper. Hubby nearly blew a gasket when he thought I'd painted them on without talking to him first:) I giggled inwardly as I happily told him it was just contact paper that is "supposed" to peel off cleanly with a little heat from the hair dryer:) And, if there is any adhesive left, then I know a little "Goof Off" will get it, so we're all good. Eventually I want to order the magnetic pieces, but for now these look pretty good.

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