Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Join Blog Frog And Enjoy A Fun Community

I just started a Blog Frog Community for my blog.  This is a great way to interact with other readers and share ideas on common interests.  You can share in discussions or start your own - all you need to do is sign up!

Another benefit is that you get to read the blog posts of all the members of the community.  This is a wonderful way to find more blogs that you enjoy reading and more friends with like interests.

I encourage you to join my community by clicking on the "visit my community" button on the right column of this page.

I'm excited to get to know all of you even better and hope for some fun and lively discussions.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Vintage Hunting This Weekend At Garage And Yard Sales

Over the winter I had been shopping antique stores and resale shops looking for some great vintage finds.  Although I found some pretty good deals at resale shops, antique stores tend to ask top dollar.

Now that summer is officially starting, I am looking forward to finding some deals at garage and yard sales.  Sales have been popping up all over and I love to check out as many as I can.  If you look real hard you can find a few treasures amongst the piles of toys and clothing.

Here are a few great items that I have purchased in the past:

This kitchen scale is a fun item to decorate my kitchen.  I also had found a great bushel basket and meat grinder which I also display above my kitchen cabinets.

Since we are heading up north to the cabin this weekend, I am hopeful for finding a good selection of antiques to decorate the cabin with as well as some vintage furniture.

The fishing reels and boat oars came from a yard sale, up north, last year. 
And, I recently re-purposed an old hose reel into a fun snack cart for a little rustic whimsy.  I love to create something new from something old.  I can't wait to see what I can find this year.

While you are traveling about, you may want to pop into a few of the many yard sales and see what treasures you can find.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Blogger Comment Problems

I have been trying to post comments on blogs and am always taken to the google sign in screen.  I'm signed in but still can't leave comments.  Apparently, a lot of people are having this problem (according to a Blogger forum).

If you have been having problems too, you are not alone!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Show Me Your Red White And Blue!

I will be doing a special feature over at Rustic Crafts this week on Memorial Day recipes, decor, table settings, crafts and activities.  I love to highlight all of the unique ideas that people come up with.  I'm sure many of you like to decorate or have a special patriot recipe just for the holiday.  If you would like your idea included in the feature, simply submit the link to Rustic Crafts directory or email me at renee.rustic.crafts@gmail.com and let me know where I can find your picture and link.

Any idea submitted will be linked back to your blog for the full article.

Here is one idea that I came up with this week:

Come join in on the fun and enjoy seeing what everyone has come up with!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Choosing A Fabric To Recover A Sofa

I'm getting ready to redecorate an upstairs office and the first thing I am picking out is the fabric to recover the sofa cushions.  Since I am planning on painting as well, I have a completely open color palette at this point.  As I was looking at fabrics, I found myself gravitating to patterns with light blue.  So, I pretty much decided to go with blue and narrowed it down to a few fabric choices.  I think I know which one I want but thought it would be fun to get some input.

Here are the fabrics I am looking at:

I should show you the before picture of the sofa and room:
This is a sofa from This End Up furniture that we purchased 26 years ago.  I have recovered it twice already for different decor styles.  The last time I recovered the cushions it was for a teens gaming room.  They wanted bright and fun.  Now that two of the kids have moved out and my son has his new gaming room, I get to redecorate and make this my office. 

I am planning on painting and "further" distressing the wood frame of the sofa.  Based on my fabric choices, I will probably paint the wood a blue tone.  My idea is a much softer room in a shabby chic style.  Once I decide 100% on the fabric, I will pick the wall color.

Which fabric do you like best?  Leave me a comment below with your choice.  Simply state - top left, top right, bottom left, or bottom right.  If you don't like any of them, you can tell me that too.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Free Giveaway - Romantic Style Home Accessories

If you want to add a little romantic style to a room in your home, then check out the fun free giveaway over at Katherine's Corner.  She has put together a great package that is so soft and feminine.  The all white accents with a touch of silver and gold will bring a luxurious touch to any room.

The prize collection is super sweet and includes a butterfly candle holder, a pretty heart pendant, a crowned bird, a silver frame and a romantic ruffled jar candle wrap.  You will definitely want to check this out.  The giveaway runs from May 20 - June 20 so there is plenty of time to hop on over there and get in your entries.

Just click on the link below for all of the details:

Friday, May 20, 2011

How To Become A Bird Expert With Bird Watching

When we built our cabin, we put in a large window seat for gazing out into the woods.  Later we added a few bird feeders in key visual areas.  I am amazed at all of the different and beautiful species of birds there are in Michigan.  I am happy to say that I am now quite good at identifying all the varieties.  To become an expert there are a few easy tips to follow.

The first thing you need to do is to buy a bird book or guide for your area.  We have one that is for the whole U.S which takes a little longer to page through to find the birds in just our area.  A guide for an individual state will cut out the birds that you will never see.

Once you see a new bird, look it up in your guide and then record it in a journal with the date.  You will start to learn not only the bird species but also the time of year they come to visit.

If you don't have a natural habitat that birds will gravitate to, you can create a bird haven with flowers and of course a variety of feed, like sunflower seeds, that birds like.

Sometimes the birds don't quite get close enough to your viewing point.  This is where a good pair of binoculars comes in handy.  You are then able to pick up all of the details to properly identify the bird.

All of these tips will get you on your way to becoming a bird expert.  Hopefully, you will find it as enjoyable as I do!  Here is a picture of our newest species to come into our area.  It is a male Rose Breasted Grosbeak.  The males seem to always be the colorful ones while the females are a lot plainer.

My next plan is to get a better camera for capturing their photos up close!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Spring Cleaning Checklist And Tips To Declutter Your Home

I have been busy this week with Spring cleaning and decluttering my home.  The weather has been rainy and cool so I thought I better get it done now before I the weather turns and I want to be outside.  It's good to start with a to do list and start checking it off as the jobs get completed.  Every check mark is a good accomplishment bringing me closer to an organized house.

My list looks something like this:

Clean out closets -
  • Master bedroom
  • Dillon's room
  • Hall
  • Mud Room
Clean out drawers -
  • Kitchen
  • Master bedroom
  • Dillon's room
  • Master bath
  • Mud Room 
Wash windows -
  • Main floor
  • Upstairs
  • Basement 
Clean out kitchen cupboards -
  • Main kitchen
  • Basement kitchen
That is about it!  I cannot believe how much I accumulate and how unorganized I get in a years time.  I like to start in the kitchen to ease me into the task.  Normally, this job goes fairly quick.  See my article on  kitchen organization.

Closet cleaning usually just consists of going through all of the clothes to get rid of what we are no longer wearing.  This can be a little hard but I figure if an item hasn't been worn in over a year, it probably never will be.  No matter how good it looks on the hanger, if the material isn't comfortable or the color isn't quite right it's gotta go!  And, the clothes that have had too much wear and tear really must go unless they are being used for beating around.  Go here for tips on decluttering your house and getting organized.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

A Cheap Window Treatment For The Laundry Room

Window treatments can be fun and a little informal in such places as a laundry room.  This is a room that I was more concerned about getting natural light in than I was on having privacy.  I need all the help I can get to brighten up the task of doing laundry.

Since I knew that I didn't want a full curtain in there, I started thinking about just a valance.  I also wanted to do something fun in there, so I didn't go with a traditional curtain.

Even though I don't hang any clothes out on a clothesline, the image of clothes hanging out comes to mind when I think of laundry.  This is the image I wanted to portray with my window treatment.

Here is the resulting picture:
I simply screwed a couple of hooks into the wall on each side of the window frame.  I then strung some rope out, tying the ends to each hook.  Now I could hang up my valance with clothes pins.

Since I also like to recycle old items, I used an old table runner as my valance instead of purchasing one.  This was an easy way to get kind of a fun look in there.

To see more of my laundry/mud room, check out my article on laundry room design.

Friday, May 13, 2011

How To Furnish An Odd Sized Breakfast Nook

I love my kitchen but it was definitely a challenge to furnish our very small breakfast nook.  When the architect was drawing up our house plans, the layout appeared to be okay on paper.  Unfortunately, it wasn't until the house was finished that I saw how small the available area for a table set was, considering the traffic flow.

Here are a couple of views from the opposite end of the kitchen to give you an idea:

You can see that at the end of the nook there is a hallway leading out.  We also have a slider that goes out onto our deck.  Because of these we had to leave enough room to walk through.  The rest of our kitchen is pretty good size so I had to come up with furniture that wouldn't be dwarfed. 

Since we had to go with the smallest table imaginable, I decided that we better make it tall.  I found the tall bar stools and table at Pier One Imports.  With the height being taller than the desk and the island, the furniture looks a little more substantial.  It's also kind of a fun place to sit, especially for wine and appetizers...or breakfast.

Luckily, we also have seating at the island.  This is where my kids have had breakfast everyday.  We do have a place to eat big meals in our dining room.

These two views give you an idea from the other side.  You can see a little better how the height adds a little more substance.  I guess if you can't go out you might as well go up!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Bedroom Decorating Ideas Using Vintage Accessories

I love to use vintage pieces in decorating to add a warm homey feel.  Since we already have antique bedroom furniture, I've been wanting to add some more accessories that would complement the style.  On a recent shopping trip I collected quite a few vintage accessories that would go perfectly with our decor.

Here are a couple of views of our furniture that were passed down to us from my husband's grandparents:

see the chair just peeking out!!

This chair was one of the antique items that I had purchased.

The color of the wood was perfect for blending with our existing furniture.  I just made a seat cushion to dress it up a little bit.  I still need to get a stain marker to blend in the fixed crack at the front.

While we are at this part of the room, I need to show you another vintage piece I purchased for the wall:
I simply bought an old window frame to hang on the wall.  Right now I just have a floral pick attached to the frame with a rusted paper clamp.  I was going to add more but I'm kind of liking the simple look. 

Here is a close up view:

At the corner of the one nightstand, I placed a stack of very old and worn books.  An old brass puppy figurine, that my husband had received from his first grade teacher, holds the books in place.

I love using books in decorating anyway and this stack of my grandpa's old books holds special meaning.

We have one more furniture piece, that we actually had to purchase, that was made to look old.  I have now complemented that piece with some actual vintage accessories.

The fan and the books were just added.  I  My son  My husband purchased the fan from a great vintage store as a Mothers Day gift for me--- from my son.  I bought the weather vane initially for out on our deck but every winter bring it inside.  Now I'm kind of used to it on top of the armoire that I think I will just keep it there.
**Notice the one bird inside the glass door and the other one hanging on the knob....I just have to have my birds around!

I have linked this post to these link parties.

Friday, May 6, 2011

My Brass Mirror Makeover

Way back in the eighties when brass was in fashion, we received a great round brass mirror as a wedding gift.  This mirror has traveled from house to house with us, not always finding a place for display.

We have a large corner tub in our current master bath that was in need of something on the wall above it.  I figured that the mirror would be perfect accept that I really didn't like the brass. 

I had just made some curtains for the windows that had some fun copper and silver colors in them that I thought would be great in the mirror.  Since I didn't want one solid color, I decided to use a combination of metallic paints to complement what was in the curtain fabric.

I rubbed on a copper colored paint as well as a silver and then sanded the paint totally off in some places to let just a touch of the brass show through.  The resulting look blends nicely with the curtains I think.

Here is the full picture of the corner:

Now onto the next project!

Friday Feature Picked! - Burlap Ideas by Cedar Hill Ranch

Make sure to check out the feature at Rustic Crafts this week for this great Friday pick!  Anita from Cedar Hill Ranch has come up with some great ideas for incorporating burlap into your home, including this great ottoman cover.  Some of the other ideas she has come up with are things you may never have thought of using burlap for.  She showcases projects plus items she has purchased in burlap that look outstanding.

I love her shabby chic decorating style.  Her slogan is "Texas Living With A French Accent".  You will definitely want to check out the feature and then visit her blog for many great ideas.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

My $15 Chair - Made Over

When I first bought this chair, a few years ago, it was not too pretty.  The color was kind of a flourescent green with a seat cover fabric that had to be from the seventies.  It was plenty bright and gardeny but much too loud.  I wish I had a picture of it but I had painted over it so fast, back then, that there wouldn't have been time to even think about getting a camera out.

Originally, I had just sanded the green paint off and painted over the chair with a solid black paint.  The look was fine but I was never totally happy with it.  It was too solid of a color for the age of the chair.  Plus, I hadn't done a very good job of sanding so it wasn't real smooth.  There had been a coat of white paint underneath the green and I think I had just gotten tired of sanding.

Now, I decided it was time to fix the chair and give it some distressing to highlight the imperfections. 

This first picture was taken after sanding.  I sanded deeper in some spots than in others so I could get a little of the white in areas and all the way down to the dark wood stain in others.  At first I thought I might be finished but after sleeping on it for a night I knew I needed to add one more step.   I didn't want the white, that showed through to be quite so bright so I painted over the sanded chair with a very light coat of black again. 

Here is the finished chair after painting:
This is a little more subtle which I like a lot better!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Dumpster Diving To New Table Treasure!

You just never know where you might get your next piece of furniture.  My husband seems to have a gift for finding things along side of the road just waiting to be thrown out.  I must say I get a little embarrassed when he wants to stop and take a closer look at someone else's trash.  This time when he did it I wasn't with him to stop his peeking and it ended up being very beneficial.

To back up just a little bit....our table treasure started with a large tree stump.  My husband was at work when a truck pulled into the parking lot filled with chopped wood.  This immediately intrigued my husband so he went to check it out.  He fell in love with a tree stump right away and found out he could have it for free if he could get it off the truck.  This was not a problem since he had a crew of workers and a fork lift!

The idea was to make this into a coffee table for the cabin basement.  All we needed was to purchase a round glass table top.  This is where the dumpster diving comes in.  While traveling home from work one day, he sees a glass table top along side the road waiting for trash pick up.  He called me excitedly to ask what size I thought we needed for the glass top.  I figured he was up to his trash digging tricks.  And sure enough...he came home with the table top that fit perfectly.

Here is the finished table:

We only had to pay for the casters we added to the bottom for easy rolling.  A perfect table for a rustic cabin and the price was right!