Holiday Wood Sign

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So many cute holiday signs out there this year. I saw so many different versions, I couldn’t decide which one to buy. Finally, I saw one that I liked, it was on the Instagram account of a local boutique that I follow. The problem, the actual boutique is not very close to where I live and the thought of making the trip, in recent weeks, just didn’t seem that fun. Why is it that I’m so willing to drive anywhere and everywhere in the summer but not in the winter? It’s gotta be the weather. I am NOT a cold weather fan. Thus why I always suggest going to the beach for our family vacations. I was vetoed on that this year, by the way. Spending a week in the snow…not sure how I feel about that…can’t win ’em all I guess. Anyway, I was putting off the trip to the boutique until finally I decided to just make a sign myself since I had most of the things I needed. I already had the wood and paint in the garage, so one quick trip to Michaels for the metal and wood letters, and I was in business.

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I started with a 1×10 piece of scrap wood that I had in the garage and I cut it to 37″ long with a jigsaw. The trim I cut out of wood lath, I had a bundle of it from a previous project so I decided to put it to use, but you could use a 1x2x8 board and that should be enough for your whole sign if it is 37″ long. I liked the lath because it has a really rough texture so it gave the frame more of a rustic look. I painted the 1×10 board with white chalk paint and stained the frame pieces with Minwax Dark Walnut. Once both were dry, I attached the frame pieces with wood glue, a nail gun and 1 1/4″ brad nails.

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For the letters, I picked up these 2.5″ wood letters by ArtMinds at Michaels for “FRESH CUT” (spray painted with a red matte paint) and these 3.5″ galvanized letters by ArtMinds for “CHRISTMAS TREES”. Full disclosure, the metal letters actually had little magnets glued to the backside. I didn’t feel like spending time looking for letters without magnets, so I just used needle nose pliers to pull the magnets off. Most came off pretty easily, a few took a little extra strength. Also, the galvanized letters come in silver, gold and rust but the letters I needed were almost all rusted, which is not the look I was going for, so I just sprayed them each with a light coat of this Rust-Oleum hammered silver spray paint for a full galvanized look.

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To create the trees, I used acrylic craft paint in a dark green and dark brown. This part might be intimidating, but honestly, it is easier than you think. Start with the large tree. Use brown, with a small (1/4″) paint brush and paint a straight line for the trunk, making it a little wider at the bottom. Once the trunk is dry, use the same brush (cleaned and dried) and begin to paint on the branches. I painted 1 long stroke to the side for each branch, then light little strokes jetting out along the top and the bottom of each branch. Start with sparse branches (I started with 7 on each side of the large tree), fill in the shoots on each branch and then go back and add more little branches to make the tree look full. On each branch, allow your brush to get a little dry without reloading it with paint in order to get a whispy look here and there.

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That’s it! What do you think? Worth it to not make the drive? Haha!

If you want to hang your new sign, just add one of these saw tooth picture hangers to the back side, centered, about an inch from the top. Just make sure your nails are not too long and won’t go through your wood board, no more than 3/4″.

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DIY Holiday Wreath

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So, this was not a project or post I had planned on, it pretty much happened on accident while I was decorating the mantle today. I had a different plan as to what I was hanging above the mantle and hated how it turned out so I started over and this is what I came up with. I actually LOVE how this wreath turned out and wanted to share with you how simple it was.

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The wreath I started with is this 24″ faux flocked wreath from Walmart. I just happened upon Walmart’s flocked Christmas décor this year after seeing it in some other bloggers homes and it was all so inexpensive that I had to try it out. You guys, for the price, the quality is GREAT! I got my tree there as well and will absolutely be back for more next year (sadly, they’ve been sold out of their best selling items for a while already). Here are some other great flocked wreath options…

Target Wondershop 18″ Flocked Wreath
Vickerman 30″ Snow Ridge Flocked Wreath
Telluride 24″ Frosted Faux Pine Wreath

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I wanted to add a little more color to the wreath so I decided to use some of the stems I had purchased to use throughout the house. I think this is why I love this wreath so much, next year, I can easily remove the stems and add something totally different to change the look. Here is what I added to the wreath…

Ikea Smycka Eucalyptus Stem
Michael’s Red Mini Berry Stem by Ashland
Michael’s Scented Large Pinecones by Ashland
22 gauge floral wire

Because I wasn’t planning on this being a blog post, I didn’t take pictures in the process of putting it together. However, it was honestly so simple. I used 2 of each stem, one on each side. The wreath is 2 rows of branches attached to 2 metal rings which are visible on the back side of the wreath with about a 2″ gap between the 2 rings.
1. With the wreath facing up, take 1 stem of Eucalyptus and insert the end of the stem through the 2 rows of branches about 2-3″ from the bottom center of the wreath. Leave the end of the stem sticking out the back side of the wreath pointing toward bottom center (you will secure it later) and manipulate each branch of leaves to intertwine it with the wreath branches. These branches are wired so you should be able to get the branches where you want them to go by bending slightly. Don’t spend too much time on this because you may make more adjustments when you add the berries.
2. Add 1 stem of berries the same way, layered over the Eucalyptus stem and intertwine them together to the placement you prefer.
3. Repeat steps 1 & 2 on the opposite side to get a balanced look.
4. Use 3 pinecones and 3 pieces of wire, each approximately 1 foot long. Take 1 piece of wire and 1 pinecone, about 1″ from the bottom of the pinecone, wrap a piece of wire around the pinecone, maneuvering the wire between the pinecone scales (scales? is that what they’re called??) You want the center of the wire wrapped around the pinecone 2 times, and be left with a few inches of wire on each end sticking out the back of the pinecone. Take those wires ends and stick it through the wreath at bottom center. Turn the wreath over, find the wire ends and wrap them around one of the metal wreath rings to secure. This is when I secured the stems as well. I held the stem against one of the rings while I wrapped the wire around. Repeat with the other 2 pinecones.
5. Now that all of you stems and pinecones are attached, your stems should be secure at the center and you’ll just have the ends of the stems loose. I just kind of bent the end of the stems and tucked them under and between the 2 wreath rings to keep them from showing. Very technical, I know 🙂

That’s it guys! So simple!! AND, the whole wreath cost me $20!!!! Obsessed!

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Now for a few other mantle details…

I had this vintage frame that I picked up at an antique store forever ago and had never used. It was gold so I put a coat of white chalk paint on it to 1) match my décor and 2) disguise all the chips in the frame. I then used a 4″ wide burlap ribbon, about 2 feet long, to attach the wreath to the frame. Just a simple knot hidden behind the wreath.

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The candlesticks I’ve had for years, a wedding gift from my parents from a little boutique in their hometown (here is a similar style from Ethan Allen)

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If you follow me on Instagram and watch my stories, https://www.instagram.com/justlikeplayinghouse/ you’ll know that the mantle décor decisions started with my love/hate relationship with this garland 🙂 I LOVE the long flocked needles but HATED that the pinecones were covered in glitter. I bought a couple of strands anyway, thinking I would remove the glitter pinecones and replace them with plain pinecones. End of the day, I was too lazy to remove the glitter, left them and just added a few plain. I didn’t even secure them, just sort of wedged them in between the needles. I also added a few stems of the eucalyptus to tie it all together.

I also came across these galvanized metal stocking hangers at Walmart when I picked up my tree. Pretty excited when I spotted those little cuties. I’m still working on the stockings themselves so I’ll update you when I decide which style I’m going with this year 🙂

Happy holidays friends! And happy decorating!!

DIY Baby Gate

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Ok…let’s get something out of the way. November kicked my butt. Big time. I took this break from blogging to get my stuff together, get organized, be more consistent. And, October was great! I posted consistently, I was happy with what I was posting. Then, November happened. Halloween (ok, that’s October, but still) and DIY Halloween costumes, Landon’s first birthday and a fun party to celebrate him (where I may or may not have gone a bit overboard with the theme and décor), a trip to California for a family wedding which included Landon’s first airplane ride, and was promptly followed by his first cold, and then Thanksgiving. It makes me tired just thinking about all of it. I certainly didn’t get any of my blog objectives accomplished this month. However, this weekend has been SUPER productive so far and I already feel good about December and what I’m going to bring your way, starting with…DUN DUN DUUUNNNN…a DIY Baby Gate! I am so pumped about how this gate turned out but that brings me to point #2 that we need to get out of the way…

The elephant in the room is that I put up a baby gate. And my child has been mobile for 5 months. (*insert face palm emoji here) Now, I started this project when he began to crawl. I had the gate completely built, within a day or two, sitting in my garage. And then…that’s it, it stayed in the garage. Even though all I had to do was paint it and put it up. I’m really unsure when this trait started, beginning a project and then not finishing it. Usually I don’t finish it because it turns out the project was much harder than I thought it would be (ugh eh…our deck) but I can’t use that excuse here, the gate was SO simple! I’ve always been such a procrastinator, wait until the last minute to get something done and then stress out about it not being perfect because I’m rushing to finish it. I’m not sure which is worse, procrastinating or starting a project and not finishing it. I think it has to be the latter, because that leaves me with 3,495,383 half done projects around the house! Anyway, this is my focus area, to make myself better, to stop starting projects and not finishing them. There’s about 5 major projects in the house right now that have been unfinished for sometime. My goal is to complete at least 1 per month (I know that doesn’t sound like much but they are BIG projects…deck, painting the kitchen cabinets, painting the downstairs, finally building benches to go with the dining room table and turning the carpet stairs to hardwood). So that would mean, all 5 of those projects 100% done by my birthday, at the latest. I’m writing it here so you all can hold me accountable, okay? (I know if I write it here, there is at least 1 person who will stay on my case about it, right mom?)

And now, what you all came here for…the baby gate! Like all my projects, this came about from my desire to find a cute baby gate with a barn door-esque look to it. Of course, I couldn’t find anything like it out there, so, I built it. And truly, you know it had to be easy because I didn’t follow a plan, I just made it up as I went. That part was a little scary and took some planning and measuring beforehand but it all turned out well.

Before I share the steps with you, you should know that the opening I built this gate for is not a standard door-size opening so it is a bit of a custom build. I used the width of the opening to determine what size boards I would use and also had to take into account needing 2 pieces of wood attached to the wall on either side for anchoring the gate and attaching the lock. If you are interested in doing this in your own home, please feel free to reach out to me and I’d be happy to help you determine the necessary measurements as well as what size boards to use.

The full space I had to work with is 46 1/2″ wide x 35 1/2″ tall. I needed a little space on each side of the gate for the support boards as well as a little room for the gate to swing open and closed. I calculated that if I used 1×6 boards, it would leave me just enough space. (If you do this, make sure you look up the true measurements on the board you’re using, i.e. a 1×6 board is only 5 1/2″ wide, not 6″, which could make a big difference to your overall project.)

Supplies
4 – 1x6x10 boards
1 – 1x6x8 board
1 – 1x4x8 board
1 – 1x3x8 board
jigsaw, table saw or miter saw (any will work, I used my jigsaw)
wood glue
nail gun
1 1/4″ brad nails
44″ grips (not necessary, but helpful for keeping boards lined up for step 1 & 2)
gate hardware (2 hinges, 1 handle, 1 lock)
paint or stain of your choice
drill with 7/32 drill bit
2″ wood screws

1. Use the 1x6x10 boards, on each board, cut 1 piece @ 44″ and 2 pieces @ 34″. You should have an 8″ piece of scrap wood left over from each board. Line your 34″ boards up side by side, making sure the top and bottom edges line up evenly. Use 44″ grips, across the middle of the boards, to hold the boards together and keep them from moving. If you don’t have grips, you can just hold each board in place as you nail it to ensure it doesn’t move.

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2. Once your grips are secure, use wood glue, the nail gun and 1 1/4″ brad nails to attach a 44″ board across the top and bottom of the 34″ boards. Once secure, remove the grips, turn the gate over to the other side, and attach the other 2 44″ pieces the same way.

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3. Use the 1x6x8 board, cut 4 pieces @ 23″. These pieces are going to lay along the right and left sides and you want them to fit snuggly between the 44″ pieces. I suggest measuring for each one individually before cutting, just to be sure of the exact length. Once cut, attach using wood glue, nail gun and 1 1/4″ brad nails to both the left and right edges of the gate, on the front and back sides.

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4. Use the 1x3x8 to cut 1 piece @ 44″. This is going to be your top trim board. I didn’t snap a picture of this in the construction process because it was actually an afterthought. I wasn’t going to add the trim to the top but decided to in the end because the top edge was a little rough and I thought it would just look more finished this way. Measure the width across the top of the gate before making the cut, it should be close to 44″. Attach using wood glue, nail gun and 1 1/4″ brad nails.

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5. Use the 1x4x8 board to cut your support post and block for the lock to attach to. Make sure you look for studs in the area you will be attaching the gate. This gate is a heavy beast so you definitely want to secure it through studs. Cut 1 piece @ 34 3/4″, this will be the side you attach your hinges to. Cut a 2nd piece @ 3 1/2″ long, this will be the block you attach the lock to. (Once I had those final two pieces cut, this is when I painted everything. Much easier to do before you install. I used white chalk paint on mine.) On the 34 3/4″ piece, use your drill and drill bit to make 3 small notches in the wood where you will secure it to the wall. You don’t want to drill all the way through the board, just a  slight indent, so the head of the screw will sit below the surface of the board. Then secure the board to the wall using 2″ wood screws and screw into a stud. Set the 3 1/2″ piece aside. I didn’t attach this one until the gate was installed, so that I could line it up with exactly where the edges of the gate would sit.

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6. Now you are going to attach the hardware to the gate. Be sure to pay attention to the top of the gate, and if there’s a certain side you want facing in or out of the room. The hinges I used are these National Hardware Steel Painted gate hinges from Lowes. You will attach the decorative end of the hinge to the gate, when figuring out placement, I held the hinge at a 90° angle up against the gate and then secured the decorative end with the screws it comes with. Attach the second hinge toward the bottom of the gate the same way. I also attached the handle before hanging the gate, you can do this now or later. I used the Gatehouse Black gate pull and placed it on the right edge of the gate on the same side as the hinges, halfway down the gate. Now you can hang the gate by securing the other side of the hinge to the anchor board that you attached to the wall. *Note: since the gate is so heavy, it is best to do this with 2 people. If you can’t do it with two people, I suggest using something sturdy underneath the gate to lift it up to the appropriate height for attaching. You WILL NOT be able to hold the gate up and attach it by yourself, please don’t try. I used pieces of 2x4s to raise the gate up to the proper height but please be careful if you’re using this method. Use the screws that accompany the hinge to attach the rectangular side of the hinge to the anchor board.

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7. Now that the gate is hung, you can determine the placement of the 3 1/2″ block. I just pushed the gate into the “closed” position to see where it naturally rested, then marked on the wall with a pencil where the block should sit. Use the drill and drill bit to make 2 notches into the block the way you did with the anchor board, then attach the block to the wall using 2″ wood screws. Line the gate up with the block, put the locking mechanism into locked position while you are attaching it. This way, you know the pieces are lined up properly. I used the Gatehouse 3-in steel bolt, mostly because of the small size. I knew I wouldn’t have a ton of space for a larger lock.

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Done and done! Lock that puppy and keep your little one contained to one room 🙂 I absolutely love how this project turned out and like I said before, if you are interested in doing this in your home and need help adjusting the measurements for a custom fit, I’d be happy to help. Just go to the contact page and send me a message!

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Fall Home Tour

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We officially have a walking baby!! Landon has been taking a few wobbly steps each day but last night he walked all the way across the living room! It was cute, exciting and terrifying all at the same time 🙂 With each new milestone comes a whole new stage of unexpectedness (I’m going to pretend that’s a word).

With this milestone has come the 12 month sleep regression. Landon has been waking up at 5:30 every morning for about a week now. Now that he’s walking, he should go back to his normal sleep pattern soon. This morning he woke up at 6:00 but then fell back asleep until 7:30. Hopefully, with a few days of practice walking under his belt, we’ll get back to normal.

I spent the weekend cleaning the house and shooting my fall décor so that I could put a little home tour together for you. It’s later than I wanted to have this post done but, better late than never?? I’m loving everything I added this season and I tried to keep things simple, not too busy. I stuck to a bit of a pumpkins and galvanized metal theme with all of my pumpkins being from Michaels and all of my greenery being from Ikea.

I hope you guys enjoy the inspiration! And I’m already thinking about what I want to do for Christmas and my hope is to get it done and posted EARLY so that you can have some inspo in time for your own decorating!

Happy decorating 🙂

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DIY Toy Box

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I think I officially have a toddler. I mean, when I spend the entire day either chasing the little munchkin or saying “No, Landon…no, no, no….Landon, that’s not to play with” that equals toddler, right?!?! When he first learned what the word “no” meant, he would usually stop whatever behavior I was saying no to. Now, he is testing the limits and repeating the behavior, over and over and over. The latest, picking food up off his high chair tray, holding his food-filled fist for me to see and dropping it while I tell him not to drop the food. Big heavy sigh.

Once Landon turned 4 months, we started accumulating toys at rapid pace so I needed a place to store them. I started searching for toy boxes and toy storage. There were some cute options out there but not a lot that really went with his nursery or my décor style. Baskets would have been the best option if I had a big shelving unit to store them on, but, space in the nursery was becoming limited.

I came across this unfinished wood toy box on Wayfair and decided to customize it to fit the style of the room.

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I painted the toy box white with Heirloom Traditions A La Mode chalk paint, 3 coats total, and then used DIY Big Top Aftershow top coat. I followed it up with a light sanding on the edges with 180 grit sandpaper.

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Next, I decided to add a padded seat to the top of the toy box. I added the hinges to the lid so that I could cut and attach the padding and fabric around them. Lay out your fabric on the ground (design side down), making sure that if you are using fabric with a pattern, you pay attention to the placement and angle of the pattern. Next, lay out a piece of 1″ foam on top of the fabric followed by the lid placed upside down on top of the foam. At this point, you can cut the foam and the fabric to the appropriate dimensions. Leave a 1″ border of foam around the toy box lid. Leave a 2″ border between the fabric and foam to allow for folding the edges over and attaching with staples.

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To attach the padding and fabric, I folded the edge of the fabric over on itself, the folded the remaining edge of the fabric over the foam and toy box lid, securing it with staples and my electric staple gun. When you are securing the fabric, work on one side at a time and secure only to within 2″ of each corner so that the fabric at the corners is loose. You are going to make some cuts and folds in order to tuck the corner fabric in. Also, when securing the fabric on the hinge side, staple everywhere except at the hinges, leaving the fabric loose there as well.

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To secure corners, you want to cut away the extra layers of fabric that were folded under, leaving only 1 layer of fabric. Take the tip of fabric at the corner, fold it over the lid and secure with a staple. You should now have loose fabric on either side of the corner. On each side, you will fold and roll the fabric under itself at an angle so that when you bring the two sides together they will meet at the corner. Secure with staples.

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To secure fabric around hinges, again, cut away some of the layers so you have just 1 layer of fabric, refold the fabric so that it fits around the hinge and secure with staples.

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Once I attached the lid to the toy box, I wanted to add a little more detail so I picked up some metal T strap and L strap angles , spray painted them black and attached them at each corner for a little industrial touch.

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That’s it! Totally customizable to your color and design! Just change paint color, fabric, spray paint and done 🙂

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Small Buffet Upcycle

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Hi everyone!!! Wow, it feels like I’ve been gone for SO LONG! I mean, 2 months isn’t forever but still, I missed posting for you and I’m glad to be back at it. Thank you for hanging in there while I took a little break. I was able to accomplish quite a few things around the house, get myself organized and reprioritize what I want and need to do with this blog going forward. I’m so excited to get back to sharing things with you and have so many fun projects in store, so I hope you love them as much as I do!

How about a little life update first 🙂 Not a ton has changed, just the usual day-in and day-out of stay-at-home motherhood. We have been taking more weekend trips as a family and I’ve been getting Landon out into some play groups each week, which he loves! So, we’ve been more social in the last couple of months I guess. The little one is seriously on the move! He is crawling and cruising SO fast! Walking is just around the corner…(heavy sigh). And no, mom, I still don’t have the baby gate up. :/ Landon is also adding to his vocabulary. He now says mama, dada, nana, & Ella (except Ella sounds more like Elwa, but so cute!) Speaking of Ella, I think she may have kennel cough. Ugh! Have any of you dealt with kennel cough in your dog? She is current on vaccinations, we did board both dogs about 2 1/2 weeks ago and she started this awful cough/choking sound just over a day ago. I’m hoping it’s not something more serious but we’re going to the vet today, so I’ll keep you posted.

So, this mini buffet. What do you think?!?! I’ve had this piece of furniture for years, 7 years to be exact, as it was a wedding gift from my little sisters. I honestly never had a true home for this piece but recently, have not been liking our bar area. It was a bit too big and in a very focal point of our home so I want to make it smaller and de-emphasize it a bit. This mini buffet seemed like the perfect size. Of course I forgot to take a picture of it before painting…this is why I needed to get organized about my projects, I start projects on a whim, only get them halfway done, never feel like I’m getting anywhere with this house! Before, it was a cream/yellow tone with bronze hardware and chalkboard doors. It was super cute but the yellow tone just didn’t go with the rest of the house anymore.

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I did want some of the black to show through when I distressed this piece, so to start, I painted 1 coat of Heirloom Traditions Black Bean on any area that wasn’t already black. Once that was dry, I added 2 coats of A La Mode (White). Most of the time, when I distress furniture, I just go over the edges with sandpaper. This time, however, I used a technique called Wet Distressing. You distress right away after the paint dries, don’t give it any time to cure because you want the paint to come off easily. Using a sponge or rag, and a bowl of water, you get the sponge wet, ring out the excess water, and lightly rub the area you want to distress. This will essentially peel off the paint giving you more of a “chippy paint” effect.  I actually found this method of distressing much easier than sanding and WAY less messy.

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For the knobs, I went with this simple matte black round ceramic knob from Home Depot.

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 And that’s it! Just a simple upcycle that made a world of difference to our bar area. If you have followed for a while, you’ll remember when I originally put the bar area together. It turned out like this…

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I did like it but have since taken our décor in a different direction so I thought this area needed an update. I also moved it to the opposite side of the room so that it is tucked away in the corner instead of front and center when you walk into our kitchen/dining room.

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I’d love to hear what you think of the new version! I also have a fall décor post coming later this week where you will be able to find sources for all the décor pieces you see here.

Happy Wednesday everyone! And it feels great to be back, I missed you friends!! 🙂

DIY Chalkboard Sign

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Confession…I love chalkboards. Or, I love creating cute little works of art on chalkboards. Weird, I know. I have created some fun chalkboard signs for my mom’s business and thought it was time I have one in my home. I created a new photo gallery wall in our living room and took down the old gallery wall which was hanging in this space. It’s kind of an awkward spot. You enter our home into a foyer with a vaulted ceiling with the living room, dining room and kitchen to the left but you don’t really see those rooms until you round the corner. As you turn the corner, you step up 4 stairs into the living area and this wall is right in front of you.

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Not only is it an awkward spot, but the wall itself is a bit awkward as well. It is essentially a square in the center of our upstairs area. On the left of it is our living room and on the right is our dining room and kitchen. And because of the light switches and thermostat, the placement of anything you put on the wall either has to be really high or really low. Which is the reason I wanted to move the gallery wall, because the photos were up so high, you never really saw them very well. Once I completed this sign, I loved it in this space but still felt like the wall needed something on the lower half too. I think a thin sofa table up against the wall could possibly look good. However, very shortly there will be a DIY baby gate at the top of those stairs…hint hint at a future post…that will visually cover that space as you walk up toward the wall so I will most likely leave it as is until after the gate is up.

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The great thing about this sign is that the size is completely customizable for your space if you use the same project boards that I used from Lowe’s. They come in multiple sizes, thicknesses and made from different types of wood. For my space, I used a stain grade pine panel that is 3/4″ thick x 24″ tall x 36″ wide. Unfortunately, I can’t find these pine panels on their website anymore but they are usually kept in the lumber area, near the wood trim section.

Supplies
stain grade pine panel 3/4″ x 24″ x 36″
1″ x 2″ x 4′ pine board (for trim)
table saw or miter box (for cutting trim)
wood glue
1 1/2″ brad nails and nail gun
wood filler
220-grit sandpaper
chalkboard paint
stain or chalk paint for trim (I used Minwax stain in Dark Walnut)
chalk

Step 1: Cut your trim

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Lay your project board down and cut a piece of trim for each side. Now, you can just do straight edge cuts on your trim instead of angled miter cuts. If you have a table saw and can do miter cuts easily, then I say go for it. If you are trying to do it with a miter box and hand saw, probably not worth all the effort. At least not with the wood that I used for the trim, because it is not soft and would not be easy to cut through with a hand saw. So, if you are doing a straight edge, 90° cut with a jigsaw, simply cut the top and bottom pieces first, attach them with the wood glue and nails, as shown in step 3, and then measure and cut the side pieces. If you are doing a mitered angle cut, I measured one side at a time and as I measured the next side, I held the previous side in place to make sure I had a proper measurement and snug fit at each corner.

Step 2: Paint

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I know it might seem a little backwards to paint first and then assemble, and you don’t have to do it this way, especially because if you use wood filer to seal the corners on the trim, you’ll have to touch that up anyway. However, I didn’t want to deal with having to be super careful to not get the chalkboard paint on the trim once it was assembled so it just seemed easy and must faster to paint the pieces beforehand. Like I mentioned above, I used this chalkboard paint for the main board (2 coats) and Minwax stain in Dark Walnut for the trim (1 coat wiped on with a cloth).

Step 3: Attach trim to chalkboard

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Lay a piece of trim down on it’s thicker edge, add a thin line of wood glue to the edge that will attach to the chalkboard. Make sure the edges of your trim are flush with the chalkboard or the corner on each end and attach the trim using 1 1/2″ brad nails and a nail gun

Step 4: Finish corners with wood filler

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Use a little wood filler at each corner to fill in any gap between the trim boards. Once it is dry, use 220-grit sandpaper to buff the wood filler smooth and touch up with whichever stain or paint you used.

Step 5: Chalk art fun!

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Now you get to change up your wall décor as often as you want, and the great thing about chalk…if you don’t like it, you can wipe it off and do it again! I get a lot of my chalkboard inspo from Pinterest. Just type in chalkboard art and there you go. Some are way more intricate than others so just start with something simple and each time you can get a little more brave 🙂 I also added this little faux fern garland to the top for a little something extra because I felt like the wall was still a little naked.

Tips for creating chalkboard art
1. Use your chalk to divide you board into 4 equal sections, lightly draw a faint line down the middle of the board both vertically and horizontally. Whatever picture you are using as your inspiration, visualize it in 4 sections just like your board. This will help you with placement of each word or picture in relation to everything else.
2. Start from the center and work your way out. I started this board with “hello” and the sun, and then followed with each line and did the arrows last. It was easy to figure out the placement for the most central word and then look at how each word or object is placed in relation to that central word.
3. Sketch it out first. I do a very rough, very light-handed sketch of each word to make sure I like the placement and the size before coloring it in darker or finalizing it. Keep a wet rag on hand to wipe away sketch marks that don’t blend in or are outside the lines of your final word. This works especially well for cursive words because, for reals….my cursive ain’t pretty! Unless I go VERY slowly and sketch it first.
Have fun!!

Gallery Wall

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You know the best way to wake up early on a Tuesday morning? To the sound of your dog getting sick. I mean, nothing gets you to jump out of bed and on your feet faster. And then try going back to sleep after that. Two things that I thought would be an issue having dogs with a baby or small child. 1) That the dogs would take or chew on the baby’s toys and 2) the dogs are going to get a little “thicker” when the baby starts eating solid food and can therefore feed the dogs 🙂
Until now, neither have been an issue. The other day, Landon was sitting on one of his little chairs that has toys attached to it, eating a teething biscuit. By the way, teething biscuits have to be one of THE messiest foods I’ve ever seen! Anyway, my mother-in-law was cleaning him up after he finished and Ella, sneakily and one by one, grabbed the toys which were now covered in biscuit crumbs. The toys were (<– notice how I said “were” not “are”) those round plastic rings, bright colored that stack on a cylinder and form a pyramid. Super flimsy and took no time at all for Ella to demolish while trying to eat every crumb she could find. I found the leftover plastic under our bed with some of the consumed plastic making it’s appearance this morning.
Welcome to our little slice of crazy town!

We have been so lucky to have some amazing photos taken over the last year and a half since finding out a little babe was on the way. Something I’ve been so bad about, in recent years, is displaying personal photos at home. This, to me, is such a down side to all the technology we use on a daily basis. Our photos are all contained on phones and computers and rarely make their way onto paper and into our homes. Why? One of my favorite things in other people’s homes is seeing all their personal photos, their family & friends, big events, love. I am resolving to have more photos printed and finish my home spaces with this personal décor detail.

I had this large wall space in our living room and went back and forth about what to put there. We did have a gallery wall in the house before, but it was all wedding photos and the location wasn’t a noticeable spot where people would stop to look at it. I asked Jeff if I should replace the current gallery wall or move it to the large wall in our living room. His response, “put it in the living room so we will actually see it everyday and enjoy it”. Yes! Too often, gallery walls are hidden on stairwells and in hallways where people don’t see them as often. Bring those photos to a prominent location!

I went with a grid style gallery wall, very uniform and pretty easy to put together. I have seen some gallery walls that are asymmetrical and I do love them, but I am just too “straight line, symmetrical, matchy-matchy” for that style. Maybe someday I’ll step outside my comfort zone, but until then, here are a few tips to help you create your own grid-style gallery wall…

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1. Determine the space and size of your gallery wall
Figure out where you are going to put your new gallery wall. Chances are, you already have a blank wall in your home that you struggle with filling or decorating. Next, think about how big you want the gallery to be. This will give you a measurement from top to bottom and side to side and help you know what size and how many frames you can fit in your space. For instance, my space was about 42″ x 51″. I had a pretty particular look I wanted, so I had already picked out the frames and therefore knew the exact measurements. I used an 11×14 frame that was matted for an 8×10 photo, plus the width of the actual frame, it left about 2″ between each photo if I did 3 across and 3 down. This part may take a little configuring, just be sure to measure the actual frame because depending on the thickness of the frame, it can add an additional 1-2″ to each photo.
2. Choose your frames
Here’s a tip if you want a uniform look, use a frame with matting. This will help separate the photos from each other as well as “tone down” the photo so that each picture isn’t competing with the one next to it. I was going for a black & white theme and found these frames for an amazing price at Michael’s. This frame is normally $23, but Michael’s regularly has sales on their frames and they usually do it by brand. These were 60% off last week!!! While they are no longer on sale, they do have a few other brands on sale right now. If you find one you like that is full price, it’s worth it to just keep checking back for sales.

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3. Choose your pictures & print
For the uniform grid look, you need to choose all vertical or all horizontal pics. I know I know, duh! But, I started picking out photos and then realized I was choosing both and had to go back and do it again! Another thing I did for uniformity was adjust the color of the photos before printing. The main reason I did this is because I used photos from all different photo shoots and 2 different photographers who have very different editing styles. Some of the photos were bright, vivid color and some were more muted. Plus, with different outfits and backdrops in each shoot, it just made for a lot of different looks going on. By adjusting the color, it helped make all the photos look more like they went together. I don’t have any fancy photo editing program, just the one that came loaded on my computer. All I did was edit the saturation of the photo to pull some of the color out. When I found a color level that I liked (I used -65 but it will probably be different on all computers/programs) I adjusted all the photos to the same level. Note: When you do this, make sure you “save a copy” of the photo, don’t save over the original, just in case you don’t like it, plus, you don’t want to loose the integrity of the original photo. Obviously this step isn’t necessary. I also did this because of the black & white look I was going for. I wanted to use my favorite photos but I didn’t want them completely black & white so this allowed me to get the look I was going for while still keeping a little color. As far as printing, if you are using professional photographs, chances are, your photographer will have a suggestion as to where to print them for the best quality. Our photographer uses Smugmug, but also suggests Shutterfly as a good place to print.
4. Hang your photos
I’ll be honest, I was not super technical with this part. I hung the center photo where I wanted the center of the gallery to be. For the photos directly above, below and beside the center photo, I just measured out the height or width of the frame, plus an additional 2″ for the space between each photo. Because I was just sort of winging it, I did have to make some adjustments. Just step back and check after you hang each photo because it may look even up close but once you step away you’ll be able to tell for sure. If you want to be more technical about it, you can pick up a laser lever at the hardware store. This one from Lowe’s is $20, attaches to the wall and will easily get the job done. If you are using a laser lever, your laser line is going to be where you hammer the nails into the wall so be sure to adjust down a bit from where you want the top of the frame to be.

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Now go get those photos printed and start enjoying them! 🙂

Deck Restoration, Part 2

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When I got to the point of being ready and able to start getting projects done again, with the urging of my husband, I knew I needed to finish up some things I had started before I got pregnant. A few examples…
1. The set of stairs from our foyer into our living room. I changed the stairs over from carpet to hardwood, stained/painted them but still need to add finish trim.
2. The kitchen cabinets. I started painting them white and am only about halfway, which by the way, they have stayed for about 1 1/2 years. Ugh! I realized when I got pregnant that the paint/varnish stripper I was using was very toxic so I had to stop using it. I bought a non-toxic version but of course it just didn’t work as well and took SO much longer.
3. My dining room table, we have a beautiful farm table with no seating 😦
4. And finally, our backyard deck. Since it is the start of summer (which really doesn’t get in full swing until July 4th around here) I thought this would be the best place to start so we could enjoy it once the weather gets consistently warm. It’s been about halfway done for a year…or so I thought. I was telling myself that I started this project last summer and only stopped because the weather changed. Except…I was very very pregnant last summer and didn’t work on the deck at all. So, it’s actually been sitting halfway done for 2 years now! UGH!!! Real life.

Hubby asked over and over if I just wanted to hire someone to finish the deck. I, because I am way too independent and stubborn, continued to say no no no, I will finish it. Time to put my money where my mouth is.

So, for the last 2 weeks, I’ve been working on it here and there, when the weather permits and during naptimes. The progress is slow but I’m determined! And because I’m trying to do this without starting any other projects in the process, I wanted to give you a little update of what I’ve been working on.

One of the first projects I did was the restoration of our front porch deck, you can see that post here. I’m using the same products on the back deck which I will link to throughout this post. The back deck was a bit worse off that the front. On the front porch, I didn’t have to replace any boards, just clean and stain. Here is a little insight into what I’m working with in the back…

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At first glance, it doesn’t look so bad. But…

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 Lots of small areas of rotted wood, and as I began to remove boards, found quite a bit more underneath. Row by row, I removed the boards, starting furthest from the house. Some boards were still fully painted and in tact so I did reuse some of them, however, I would suggest NOT doing this. Even though I used the same board size as what was already in place, the new boards are slightly wider and thicker than the old boards. Not by a huge amount, but just enough to make it noticeable. So, going forward, I’m going to replace all boards.

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I’ve got about half of the boards replaced at this point, right now I’m trying to get all the railings painted before continuing to replace the remaining boards, including all the stairs. I’ve got a big task ahead of me and I’m trying to get it all done by 4th of July!! Oh boy!

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I’m using the same deck stain as the front porch, Behr Deck Over solid stain in padre brown for the floor boards and anchor posts and solid stain in white for the railings. I am adding these solar power post caps to the railings for some night lighting. Keep in mind, these do not give off a ton of light so these are more just for aesthetics than lighting your outdoor space at night.

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I ordered this outdoor furniture from Target.com and LOVE it!! It is a simple black iron frame complete with white cushions. I purchased the loveseat and 2 chairs from the Fernhill patio collection. The black and white pillows are also from Target but are indoor pillows which I coated with Scotchguard to waterproof them for the outdoors. We will see how they hold up 🙂 I couldn’t find these exact pillows online to link them but they do have a TON of new indoor styles to choose from plus a sale on most outdoor accessories.

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So here’s too a few weeks of hard work so we can enjoy this area for the couple of months that we have sun and warm weather 🙂

 

Spring Décor Favorites

I’ve been shopping up a storm lately.

Ok, that’s not really something new. I guess the difference is, I’m being very particular about the things I buy for the house. Only making a purchase for an item I’ve really thought about, searched it out and have a specific spot for it. In the past, I would just go shopping, see something I like, buy it, and then get home and not really like it with anything else in the room.

So, lesson is, be deliberate with my home purchases. Because of this, everything I have purchased recently I am IN LOVE with! Because I really thought about the look I was going for or exactly what I wanted for a specific spot, it’s all working out so much better.

I thought I’d share my top 10 home décor purchases from this spring in hopes of inspiring you as well 🙂

One of my favorite places to shop in Portland is City Home. They have a great aesthetic, a little urban, a little rustic, a little eclectic. AND, they carry Magnolia Home, the home décor line from Joanna Gaines of Fixer Upper. Jackpot! I stopped in there a couple weeks ago to pick up some barstools…also listed in the top 10…see below 🙂 …and happened upon this gorgeous hurricane vase. I pictured a candle burning and the glow seeping out through the laser cut tin and I was in love. Then I realized it was from Magnolia Home. Done and done.
Kinder Hurricane Vase

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So this isn’t a purchase per-say. I buy flowers. A lot. And my favorite thing right now is using canning jars as the vase. Simple, yet the jar seems to give it a little something more than just a plain glass vase, don’t you think?

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Those barstools I mentioned…I’ve been going back and forth on which barstools I wanted for quite some time now and I kept going back to these. I like the combo of the metal frame with the wood seat, rustic but still clean looking.
Backless Counter-Stool w/Wood Seat

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Have you heard of a black thumb? This girl has 2! Seriously, I kill all plants!! So, when I saw these faux boxwood trees at Ikea, no brainer.
Faux Potted Boxwood

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My mom picked up this little cutie somewhere in eastern Washington. The cutest little farmhouse soap dish I’ve ever seen!
Metal & Stone Soap Dish

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Black & white décor…it’s my obsession lately. These stripe pillows from Ikea were an easy way to update the color scheme in my living room.
Stripe Cushion Cover

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These little faux sage plants are making their way all through my house. Some in the nursery, some in the living room, powder room. Something about spring just makes me want to put plants everywhere. Faux plants, of course 🙂 at least in my case.
Faux Potted Plant

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Like I said…plants…everywhere. But this lemon tree! I couldn’t resist!! It’s adorable, no?
Unfortunately, it looks like Pottery Barn is already sold out 😦 They do have a matching wreath though

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Disclaimer…this photo is NOT my home. I’d love to take credit for it, trust me 🙂 This was actually my inspiration photo. Since seeing this, I’ve wanted a steamer trunk to use as a side table. I’m halfway there 🙂 My mom found a vintage trunk similar to this one, just need to have it fixed up a bit and I’ll be ready to go! You can find trunks like these at vintage and antique stores all over.

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Final purchase! The Hektar Lamp from Ikea (again, picture is not my home). I love love love the scale of this lamp. The lamp shade is oversized and it’s a nice tall fixture. I had been searching for a floor lamp for our dining room and finally came across this little beauty.

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Happy spring and happy shopping friends!